SPEA says destruction of Alagoas Brancas is “imminent”

A protest march is already scheduled for next Saturday, October 22nd, starting at 17:00, in Lagoa

Photo: Anabela Blofeld

The Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA) says that “the destruction of the Alagoas Brancas wetland is imminent”, in Lagoa, accusing the Chamber of having authorized “a real estate developer to carry out urbanization work”. 

According to SPEA, “the destruction of this wetland jeopardizes the safety of the city in a flood situation. The illegality of this act is notorious, waterproofing an area that will have severe consequences, taking into account the rainfall regime to which the Algarve is subject».

Due to this situation, a protest march is already scheduled for next Saturday, October 22nd, starting at 17:00, at Largo do Auditorio Municipal Carlos do Carmo, in Lagoa.

The march is organized by Associação Almargem, A Rocha Portugal, GEOTA, FAPAS, League for the Protection of Nature (LPN), Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA) and ZERO – Sustainable Terrestrial System Association.

In the opinion of SPEA, «the destruction of the habitat of more than 300 species of native plants and animals has begun, some of which are protected by law or threatened with extinction».

«In addition, the possibility of creating a single place in the city for the population to enjoy, for the protection of nature and for the reduction of the impact of floods and flash floods is destroyed. This is to build another commercial area that, if necessary, could be built elsewhere in the city», he adds.

SPEA accuses the Lagoa Chamber of «stubbornness» – and that is the only reason the process «advances».

«The municipal executive of Lagoa is aware of the values ​​that the area contains, as well as the desire of many citizens to protect Alagoas Brancas and promote bird watching during the winter. The municipality ignored a project to requalify and protect the area, with important financial and social benefits. Currently, there is still a petition with more than 6650 signatures and a judicial process in the Administrative and Tax Court of Loulé that can still reverse the decision of the municipality”, says SPEA.

«Why didn't the municipality carry out the environmental impact study when the competent authorities, such as the ICNF, recommended it? It is a serious situation that requires a complaint to the European Commission, for flagrant violation of the Community directives Birds, Habitats and Environmental Impact», he adds.

SPEA also considers that "incomprehensible and unacceptable these days, this city council arrogance exercised against the wishes of citizens who simply make the choice for the quality of life of future generations".

«The movement of citizens for Alagoas Brancas will not sit back and will continue to fight for the conservation of the area and prevent this environmental attack, demanding that the institutions for the protection of nature fulfill the role for which they are destined. The NGOs believe that it is still possible to reverse the process and restore the environmental damage caused, and promise to fight to stop the destruction and to restore the initial situation, allowing nature to do its part, for the benefit of the citizens of Lagoa and all who visit the city», he concludes.