PAN (People-Animals-Nature party) is calling for explanations on the "illegal planting of avocados" in the municipality of Lagos, Algarve. For this reason PAN has submitted a request for an urgent hearing by the Minister of Environment and Climate Action, CCDR Algarve, ICNF, the Nature and Environment Protection Service (SEPNA) of GNR, IGAMAOT and the Portuguese Environment Agency.

André Silva, deputy of the PAN Parliamentary Group, accuses the project promoter of not complying with the legal obligations and notifications of the authorities.

According to a note sent to The Portugal News: “In December 2018, an inspection action was carried out, following complaints to the Environmental Protection Center of Portimão of the GNR SEPNA, which resulted in a notification of environmental offense to Frutineves".

Months later, on May 2019 a new inspection action was carried out, having verified the existence of work to prepare the land for planting avocados. According to the same note this is illegal because this areas is covered by The National Ecological Reserve and was not involved in the last inspection action. It was concluded that Frutineves did not fulfill the notification resulting from the first inspection action.

“In the last few decades, the country has seen a deep change in the Algarve landscape, which has been subject to an increasing conversion from traditional to intensive farming. Also, this region, with serious problems of water shortage, and where all scenarios indicate that it will worsen in the coming years, due to climate changes, the PAN party highlighted early on its total disagreement with the implementation of this agricultural project, opposing it at the same time in the public consultation carried out during the Environmental Impact Study”, says the note.

“The preservation of natural and environmental values, as well as the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, must be above any economic interest. Taking into account the number of existing plants, groundwater consumption is estimated above 1 million litres of water per day, which is unsustainable, mainly in periods of drought and taking into account that in the surrounding area there are other plantations and a golf course", reinforces Margarida Maurício, deputy of PAN in Lagos Municipal Assembly.