The move contests regulations contained in Silves’ Municipal Regulation for the Licensing of Leisure Camping and Caravanning and for the Exercise of Motorhoming.
Motorhomers’ claim some of the rules contradict Portugal’s Highway Code, while others “have no legal basis”.
Paulo Moz Barbosa, president of the CPA, told Sul Informação newspaper that “the injunction (…) centres on articles of the regulation that discriminate against camper vans, especially those which contradict the Road Code”.
The CPA has said it might also be taking action against Vila Real de Santo António for similar reasons.
The head of the CPA adds that “despite being challenged by the Municipality, the precautionary measure was submitted, and is awaiting a ruling”.
The document was lodged with the Administrative Court of Loulé on 18 July last year, and Silves Council was summoned six days later to file an opposition to the injunction.
Councillor Maxime Bispo, who heads up Motorhoming in Silves, told Informaçao Sul that the Association “disputes the normative concept of ‘parking’ as adopted in the municipal regulation, as well as the prohibition of overnight stays in motorhomes outside campsites and caravan sites or places legally authorised and properly identified for the purpose, namely motorhome service areas”.
The Councillor emphasised that the Municipality “is calmly awaiting the judicial decision that will be handed down”.
But, he said, he hopes that “lessons and possible positive contributions to improve some of the rules of the municipal regulation” can be learned from the proceedings.
Mr. Bispo stressed that “the Municipality of Silves has been publicly recognised as a municipality that is camper-friendly, and in recent years has seen a considerable increase in activities associated with camping, caravanning and motorhoming, undoubtedly because of its unquestionable natural, social and cultural values within the municipality, coupled with an increasing demand for contact with nature, but also for the creation of service areas for motorhomers, whether through municipal initiative (through significant public investment in various places in the county of Silves), or of a private nature”.
But, the councilman points out, there have been “instances of camping, caravanning and motorhoming that were often undesirable or harmful, due to an abusive use of public and natural spaces, inevitably jeopardising their collective equilibrium and enjoyment, and thereby harming local populations as well as the occasional carrying out of these activities in inappropriate places and without any administrative license”.
Unregulated motorhoming, he argued, affects “the proper functioning of properly licensed enterprises, which pay taxes and VAT, but which are short of custom, jeopardising the financial stability of companies and the maintenance of jobs”.
This, he explained, “forced Silves to regulate these practices while creating and improving the conditions for tourists to continue camping, caravanning or motorhoming in the county (…) protecting its environmental, economic, social and cultural functions, and enhancing the quality of life of the population and of those who visit”.