Tree felling in Cacela Velha is worth a fine of up to 5 million

Ministry of the Environment guarantees that it has started a "sanctioning procedure", with the answer coming after the demands of eight associations

The land clearing, which felled dozens of trees in Cacela Velha, in the middle of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, will earn the owner a fine of up to 5 million euros, the Ministry of Finance announced this Tuesday, 24 July. Environment.

In a statement, quoted by the Público newspaper, the tutelage reveals that it has started “a sanctioning procedure” against those who cleaned the land. to what the Sul Informação found out, the owner of the land is a citizen of French nationality.

This intervention, over 28 hectares, was justified as being carried out under Decree-Law 124, which regulates the mandatory clearing of land. But the truth is that it was performed in in an area protected by the National Agricultural Reserve (RAN) and National Ecological Reserve (REN).

According to the Ministry, led by João Matos Fernandes, the land clearing affected “substantially and negatively not only the vegetative substrate, but also the various species of fauna that characterize the existing habitats”.

The consequences are also felt on the cliffs, «creating instability and destruction of natural systems», explains the guardianship, cited by Público.

At the time, at first, a source from the GNR revealed to the Sul Informação that cleaning 'has been authorized' by the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF).

Then, in response to questions from the Sul Informação, ICNF guaranteed that "no authorization was requested" for the felling of trees, in Cacela Velha, in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, and that he was going to analyze the process.

According to the Ministry, when the ICNF team arrived on the ground to investigate the situation, "cutting and pulling up of trees (wild olive trees), shrubs (aroeiras) and other vegetation, using a rotating machine" were under way.

Last Friday, July 20th, eight associations came together to demand answers on this question. In a statement, the signatories denounced the "deafening and opaque silence" about this felling of trees, in addition to the fact that the intervention, "without regard to species, size or location", had left a "bare terrain, completely exposed to erosive phenomena, on the bank of a watercourse, over tens of hectares».

According to Público, the guardianship will require those responsible to restore the conditions that previously existed in that location.

Deputies José Carlos Barros and Cristóvão Norte, elected by the PSD in the circle of Faro, they had already asked clarifications to João Matos Fernandes, Minister of the Environment, about this tree felling, in Cacela Velha, in the middle of the Ria Formosa Natural Park.