Loulé Administrative and Tax Court has upheld a precautionary measure brought by the Associations, Almargem - Association for the Defense of the Cultural and Environmental Heritage of the Algarve and the Civic Association Cidade da Participação. This means that until there is a decision by the Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR Algarve), all work planned at Alagoas Brancas is suspended.

A spokesman Almargem said: “In this precautionary measure filed against the Municipality of Lagoa, having as a counter-interest the limited company Edificios Atlântico, it was intended to prevent the beginning of any urbanisation work which would irreversibly destroy a wetland located in the municipality of Lagoa. This process defends the environmental values of that area, proven through a study promoted by the Almargem Association.

The associations involved in the process have demanded the need for an environmental impact assessment on the project that the Edificios Atlântico company intends to carry out, a study that the associations claim that Municipality of Lagoa did not carry out with the competent entity for this purpose, in this case, the CCDR Algarve.

“Now the Municipality of Lagoa will have to send the Almargem study to CCDR Algarve so that, in the context of prior assessment, it can assess the potential impacts of the urbanisation project and the subsequent construction of a commercial area. CCDR Algarve will have a period of 20 working days to make this prior assessment”.

The study carried out by Almargem, showed that this ecosystem in the heart of the city of Lagoa has “an environmental richness much higher than expected, including species indicating priority habitat of the Natura 2000 Network, an especially important habitat for conservation. This study identified 114 species of birds, despite the small size of Alagoas, with the presence in that place of at least 1 percent of the national breeding population of Camão (Porphyrio porphyrio) and 1 percent of the regional population (Mediterranean, Black Sea and Africa) of Black Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)”.

Then spokesman concluded: “Finally this process has shown that more and more citizens, individually or through associations, are aware of what is happening in their territory and are available to actively intervene in the defence of the environment. This process also demonstrated that the courts have an increasingly decisive role, and should be called upon to intervene in the defence of the environment”.