On Saturday (24 July) a group of motorhome drivers intends to demonstrate, in Lisbon, against the prohibition of overnight stays for motorhomes outside authorised places and against the recent legislative changes approved by parliament, including the ban on parking in protected areas.

Speaking to Lusa agency, Elisabete Desidério, administrator of Grupo Viver and one of the promoters of the demonstration in Lisbon, said that the protest will go ahead because they believe that the legislative changes approved by the parliamentary committee on Economy, Innovation, Public Works and Housing worsen~s the current regime for parking of motorhomes inscribed in the Highway Code, namely articles 48 and 50-A.

An even worse law

“It’s even worse than what is already the law at the moment, now not only are we not allowed overnight stays, we are not even allowed to park in certain areas”, said Elisabete Desidério, in reference to the introduction of a set of amendments to article 48 regarding stopping and parking, proposed by PSD, namely that “the parking of motorhomes and similar is prohibited in the areas of the Natura 2000 Network, areas of protected landscape and areas covered by the Coastal Waterfront Planning Plans, outside authorised places”.

For motorhome drivers, the addition of this new standard “changes everything” and “is very serious”, because it is about parking the vehicle.

“This means that we can never go to Serra da Estrela, can never visit Gerês, can never go to a beach in a motorhome,” said the director of Grupo Viver.

“They placed a parking ban on motorhome drivers. Only the motorhome driver. So the motorist can visit all these places. This is clearly unconstitutional and discriminatory”, said Elisabete Desidério.

Until there are authorised places in the protected areas for the parking of motorhomes, “the motorhome driver cannot go to the beach, because the entire coast is protected either by the Coastal Plan or by the Natura 2000 Network”.
“Instead of improving the law, they have made it even worse, because this change is inconceivable”, reinforced the spokeswoman for the protest, adding that, if the ban applies only to overnight stays and not parking, the organisation is considering cancelling the demonstration.

Promoted on Facebook, the demonstration “For the Amendment of Article 50-A, Right to Stay When Well Parked” had previously been scheduled for 26 June, but was postponed to Saturday, July 24, at midday. The protest will include a go slow of motorhomes travelling between the Parque das Nações and the Assembly of the Republic, in Lisbon. Currently around 800 people are interested in joining the protest.

Law changes

On Monday, 19 July, deputies approved amendments on the parking of motorhomes, deciding that outside protected areas, overnight stays are allowed “for a maximum period of 48 hours in the same municipality” and suggesting the creation of a registration platform.

Under discussion in the parliamentary committee on Economy, Innovation, Public Works and Housing, the four bills of PCP, PEV, BE and PSD and the respective proposals for amendments, including PS and PAN, to the parking and parking regime for registered motorhomes in the Highway Code, namely articles 48 and 50-A, were voted on and only initiatives presented by the Social Democrats and Socialists were approved.

These preliminary votes have yet to be scheduled for the final global vote in plenary, which (at the time of going to press) were expected to take place later this week.

By proposal of PSD, made possible with the votes in favour of the proposing party and PS, against PCP and PAN and abstention from BE and PEV, “the overnight stay and parking of motorhomes or similar are prohibited in areas of the Natura 2000 Network, protected areas and areas covered by the Coastal Development Plans, except in places expressly authorised for this purpose”.

“In the rest of the territory, and in the absence of municipal regulation for the activity, motorhomes approved by the IMT - Institute of Mobility and Transport for a maximum period of 48 hours in the same municipality are allowed, except in places expressly authorised for that purpose, for which there is no limit on overnight stays”, reads the initiative of the Social Democrats.

The legislative changes must come into effect “on the day following their publication” in the Diário da República, as approved by the deputies.

In force since January, the parking and overnight stay regime for motorhomes registered in the The Highway Code has been challenged by the representatives of motorhome drivers, namely for the prohibition of overnight stays for motorhomes outside authorised places.