15 associations ask the Minister of the Environment to protect Alagoas Brancas

The group of 15 associations and movements claims that there is an "imminent risk of destruction" of that wetland

This Tuesday, June 20, a group of environmental associations asked the Minister for the Environment and Climate Action to immediately protect the wetland of Alagoas Brancas, in the municipality of Lagoa, through the suspension of a commercial development.

The group of 15 associations and movements alleges that there is an "imminent risk of destruction" of that wetland and requests the "immediate intervention" of the government to stop a commercial enterprise, guaranteeing the protection of an "important freshwater reserve" for species of fauna and Flora.

In a statement, the group – which addressed the request to Duarte Cordeiro on the eve of the discussion, in parliament, of proposed resolutions for the protection of that area -, refers that what is at stake is the «non-compliance with the National Ecological Reserve regime when revising the Municipal Master Plan of Lagoa».

Associations and movements ask the holder of the Environment portfolio to protect the wetland of 8,5 hectares, with fresh water, located within an alluvial aquifer and which sustains an ecosystem of «enormous biodiversity», used by more than 300 species of animals and plants.

«This natural resource and the defense of the territory against drought must prevail over any rights of the construction in question», argued the group of signatories, considering that the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) should have classified the area «as a threatened zone by natural floods» and «strategic infiltration and protection area for aquifer recharge».

The same source expressed his opposition to the relocation of some of the animals present there as a measure to mitigate the impact of the development, considering that it has “high costs” and “much higher than moving the construction of the commercial surface” to another space in Lagoa.

The signatories ask that "the safety and defense of people and goods be considered a priority", in view of the development of a "construction in a place subject to floods and floods and active karsification underground", and that projects in vulnerable territories be " suited to this new reality".

The 15 promoters of the message addressed to the minister argue that "acquired rights cannot constitute an obstacle to adaptation" to new solutions, such as the relocation of the development, licensed in "serious breach" of the Intermunicipal Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Algarve.

«This area should be classified, contributing to the fulfillment of the target of protecting 30% of the land areas of the European Union by 2030 […]. There are few areas in the Algarve that are still safe from real estate expansion and, therefore, this appeal to save this area and avoid yet another environmental loss», they request.

The group of signatories comprises the Association for the Defense of the Cultural and Environmental Heritage of the Algarve (Almargem), the international Christian organization for conservation and environmental protection A Rocha, the association Ecotopia Ativa, Cidade da Participação, the Portuguese Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity (FAPAS) and the Territory and Environment Study Group (Geota).

Also part of the signatories are the League for the Protection of Nature (LPN), the Movement to Save Alagoas Brancas, the Sustainable Water Platform, the association PROBAAL – Pro Barrocal Algarvio, the National Association for Nature Conservation – Quercus, the Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA), the Portuguese Society of Ecologies (SPECO), the Center for the Conservation of Butterflies in Portugal – TAGIS and ZERO – Sustainable Terrestrial System Association.