Associations ask for lead from the environmental compliance of «mega enterprise» in Praia Grande de Silves

Six Non-Governmental Environmental Organizations (NGOs) demanded that the Environmental Compliance Report (RECAPE) of the first phase of the mega-enterprise […]

Six Non-Governmental Environmental Organizations (NGOs) demanded that the Environmental Compliance Report (RECAPE) of the first phase of the tourist mega-enterprise of Praia Grande de Silves be refused, in the joint contribution they made during the public consultation of the document, which ended last week. The six environmental associations consider that this document “is incomplete in many aspects and does not meet several of the conditions legally imposed by the Environmental Impact Statement (DIA)”.

This contribution to the public consultation process was given by the associations Almargem, A Rocha, GEOTA, League for the Protection of Nature (LPN), Quercus and the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA), which form the Friends of Lagoa Platform of the Salty. The six NGOs argue that the project planned for Praia Grande de Silves “is clearly oversized, illegal and destroys public property”.

In a joint statement, the associations regretted "that it has to be the citizens who try to stop this undertaking, the permissiveness of the central and regional authorities being almost immoral".

«The Detailed Plan of Praia Grande de Silves refers to a mega-enterprise, with more than 300 hectares, 3 hotels, 2 tourist villages, 4000 beds, a golf course and a commercial area. It is located on the last fraction of unbuilt coastline, between the over-built beaches of Albufeira and Armação de Pêra. These NGOs, just as any citizen will do, cannot help linking the project with real estate speculation and the economic fraud of the former BPN. Unfortunately, the project had the approval of the Municipality of Silves in 2012, against the stipulated in the Regional Plan for Spatial Planning (PROT Algarve)», framed.

Environmental protection organizations believe that the project “does not add anything new to the Algarve's tourism offer, and will destroy the last natural area on the coast of Silves”. This is a place, they assure, «with great environmental importance (because of the present values ​​and the benefits they provide at the ecosystem level) and a huge educational, leisure and tourist potential, clearly being a differentiating element of the region».

Here, "species and habitats protected by law" can be found. The project's implantation area is also one of the most visited places by bird watchers and other nature lovers throughout the Algarve. «The natural and scenic values ​​of the area are suitable for the development of a tourist project that is lighter in construction, full of nature, and more open to visitation and education, and not to the same destructive mistakes, already committed so many times in the Algarve» , they defended.

As for RECAPE, it does not comply with the provisions of the Environmental Impact Statement for several reasons, of which the six organizations highlight those they consider most important.
From the outset, because “the monitoring and mitigation measures presented are insufficient or not clear, even referring to future RECAPEs”. Furthermore, "the assessment of cumulative effects verified on fauna and flora is inadequate and incomplete".

On the other hand, the report “does not present the relevant studies mentioned, making their consultation and evaluation unfeasible, which results in a problem of lack of reasoning”.
«The NGOs hope that this RECAPE will not be approved, and that the mega-enterprise will not be allowed to proceed. They are confident that the Loulé Administrative and Fiscal Court will rule at any time, as they have been waiting for more than two years for a decision, which they believe can only be through the annulment of the administrative acts that made the project viable. They also expect the Municipality of Silves to be actively involved in the search for a project alternative that does not destroy the natural heritage and ecosystem services that will irreversibly leave Silves, the Algarve and the country poorer”, concluded the six environmental associations.