“There is still a lot to be done for the conservation of nature and biodiversity, essential for our survival, and we cannot have any abandoned territory in Portugal, because it must all be managed”, said João Pedro Matos Fernandes.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Action presided over the presentation of the proposal for the creation of the Lagoa dos Salgados Nature Reserve, in the town of Pêra, in the municipality of Silves.

Nature reserve

The official considered that the classification of that reserve - covered by the municipalities of Albufeira and Silves - as a nationally protected area, "is a very relevant step in the preservation of nature, in a country where there is much to be done in environmental terms".

“It is a very important step, because for 21 years no protected area of ​​national interest has been classified in Portugal, a recognition of the importance that the preservation of this territory has as a contribution to the development of the Algarve”, he added.

According to João Pedro Matos Fernandes, Lagoa dos Salgados “is an area with numerous different environmental values ​​in its 400 hectares, with a lot of biodiversity and with the need to restore portions of some ecosystems”.

“It is in fact a 400-hectare buffer to guarantee the quality of the ecosystem and, for that very reason, to enhance the value of the entire Algarve territory and the country”, he stressed.

Asked about the intention to build around 4,000 beds there and any rights acquired by landowners included in the proposed classification of that reserve, the government official assured that "no project was ever licensed for the site".

“Since there was no licensing, our understanding is that, obviously, there are no acquired rights. This turns out to be irrelevant, the classification is here, it's done and once it's concluded there will certainly be no beds”, he said.

The government official admitted that the owners “may come to contest and claim the right they feel they have” during the period of public discussion, but said he believes that the classification will still advance.

“All public entities, non-governmental and environmental organizations, are in agreement and the studies carried out point to the classification of the protected area, they are certain that it will really be a protected area”, he concluded.