CCDR Algarve’s opinion considers that the project in Alagoas Brancas is “likely to cause impacts on the Environment” and following ICNF’s opinion on biodiversity, recommends that there are grounds for carrying out the EIA.
Therefore, CCDR highlighted that the submission of the project to an EIA procedure will be justified. ICNF also states that “as a result of the project created by Almargem with several partners, it could be classified as a protected area in regional or local scope, and it is up to the Council to make a decision”.
Speaking to Lusa News Agency, Luís Encarnação said that the municipality had already received CCDR’s opinion, issued as a request of the Administrative and Fiscal Court (TAF) of Loulé under a claim filed by two associations. The mayor ensured that the municipality will comply with any decision of the court.
“We have already referred the entire case to the court with the CCDR opinion, following up on what had been the court’s decision. And now we are going to wait for the court to decide whether there should be an EIA or not,” said the mayor.
Luís Encarnação stressed that CCDR opinion was issued after the regional entity had consulted the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF) and the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), which in the past had not identified environmental values in Alagoas Brancas that would justify an EIA, and now ICNF has changed its position, with CCDR issuing an opinion to that effect.
ICNF states that “although the project is located in an urban area destined to carry out the urban planning operation at stake; however, it is noted that biodiversity in the site that will be harmed by the execution of the project”.
“CCDR issued this opinion after hearing two entities and we will wait for what the court decides and then we will communicate the decision to the promoter,” he guaranteed, stressing that this is an urbanisation plan that overlaps the Municipal Master Plan (PDM) and is “legally approved and in force”.
In addition to “sanctions for the promoter”, there may be space for “criminal and civil sanctions for those who commit acts” that breach the PDM, namely, for the mayor and councillors”, which can “vary from fines to loss of mandate”.
“Nobody can violate the PDM, allowing building where it is not possible nor making impossible what is possible to do”, he justified.
Therefore, the execution of the EIA for Alagoas Brancas is subject to the court’s decision.