Economic Development Nucleus for Morgado de Arge is already under public discussion

You can participate until the 11th of August

The public discussion of the Environmental Impact Study (EIA) of the Economic Development Center (NDE) of the now called Herdade do Arade, in Morgado de Arge, in Portimão, began last Monday, July 3rd, and runs until the 11th. of August.

Anyone who wants to participate or follow this phase of public discussion of this mega undertaking can consult the various parts of the process on the website of CCDR Algarve or Participate Portal.

The NDE of Herdade do Arade covers an area of ​​1.390 hectares, although the area to be urbanized and built is only 111 hectares (ha).

«The area of ​​the NDE differs from the area of ​​this property, as it excludes areas without territorial contiguity to the west of the EN124 and in the area of ​​the junction with the A22», it can be read.

The area subject to the EIA does not cover the entirety of the NDE, «as the area corresponding to the portion of the Photovoltaic Plant, which was subject to autonomous licensing and has already been built, is not part of this assessment, as well as the seven dams, with titles of autonomous use», explain the promoters.

There are, therefore, three distinct areas to consider: on the one hand, the area of ​​the rustic building called Morgado do Arge, with 1408,1 ha (including a parcel of 16,40 ha to be regularized as public road domain and another parcel of 2,77, XNUMX ha owned by Águas do Algarve company).

On the other hand, there is the area of ​​the Economic Development Center (NDE) of Herdade do Arade, with 1376,8 ha, which coincides with the intervention area of ​​the Detailed Plan with registration effects (which excludes the plots located west of the EN124 and the access roundabout to the A22).

There is finally a third area, object of this EIA, with 1241,1 ha, because it excludes the portion of the Photovoltaic Center, with 134,9 ha.



Promoted by Gravity Intuition, SA, a company belonging to the VEGA Fund, the NDE will allow the construction of tourist developments (hotel establishments, tourist villages, campsites with glamping), a total of 3.238 tourist beds; a residential condominium (105 dwellings, 655 residents), commercial and food and drink establishments, various facilities (educational establishment, health establishment, etc.), theme parks Outdoor Water & Land Activities and Fun Park, a Núcleo de Recreio Náutico, on the bank of the river Arade, with 10 moorings for vessels up to 8 meters and three berths for maritime-tourist vessels, an agricultural area and farming facilities (Equestrian Centre, Winery, honey production, production of liquor and arbutus brandy), green spaces, an area devoted to nature conservation (Espaço Natural do Arade), support equipment and infrastructure (roads and car parks, water supply, drainage and wastewater treatment, management of waste, electricity, gas, telecommunications).

The forest area, occupying around 1.000 ha, will carry out functions of conservation, production (namely cork oak and stone pine) and recreation and leisure.

In October 2021, Joaquim Luiz Gomes, from Fundo VEGA, had already spoken to the Sul Informação on this Economic Development Nucleus, stressing that it is «a licensing figure that has not yet been used in Portugal and in which Morgado de Arge will be a pioneer».

«Our ambition is to transform Morgado de Arge into the equivalent, for the Barlavento Algarvio, of what Quinta do Lago is for the Sotavento. We are hopeful that, one day, Morgado de Arge, which has more than twice the area of ​​Quinta do Lago, may become a national reference in terms of tourist destinations», then added that responsible.

In the VEGA Fund portfolio, the Morgado de Arge project is described as «a new concept of sustainable tourism in harmony with the natural surroundings», which will include «Nature Resort, Residential Condominium, Agricultural and Forestry Activity and Production, Protected Area Private (APP), Health and Wellness Equipment, Sports and Leisure; Photovoltaic Power Station». Of all these, only the last one is already built, as Sul Informação reported.

According to the EIA Synthesis Report, the Herdade do Arade tourist complex presents itself as «an Eco-resort that combines the traditional water environment (it has seven inland reservoirs and is bordered by the Arade river, Ribeira de Odelouca and Ribeira da Boina ), with nature, asserting itself as a multigenerational tourist complex through the diversity of segments that define its offer».

The Report adds that «modernity, comfort, privacy, diversity and personalization in perfect harmony with nature characterize this tourist spot that is committed to simplifying processes, authenticity and local cuisine and that does not neglect the need for Wi-Fi connections but favors human contact”. All «reasons» that, emphasize the promoters in the Synthesis Report, «justify the need for the project».


The Report points out, as main negative impacts, soil erosion, alteration of sound levels or the type of sounds, as well as the conditions of disturbance of the fauna, of some species of birds of prey and of aquatic birds and also of uses of the soil, alteration in archaeological remains, and also the visual impact of the project.

To try to compensate for all this, the EIA identified mitigation measures, to be «developed within the scope of the verification phase of environmental compliance of the execution project, which begins with the presentation of the RECAPE (Environmental Compliance Report of the Implementation Project)» .

The main compensatory measure consists of the creation of the Natural Space of Arade, to apply for private protected area, with an area of ​​625 hectares. If approved, «it will constitute the largest national private protected area», emphasize the promoters of the mega enterprise.

«This area includes most of the existing natural habitats in the NDE area, in particular the wetlands bordering the Arade estuary».

Other proposed mitigation measures are an Environmental Management Plan for the Work, «with emphasis on preventing spills likely to contaminate the soil or bodies of water and preventing negative impacts on natural and cultural values», as well as «archaeological works, including surveys and excavations prior to the works, measures to protect heritage values ​​and archaeological monitoring of the works».

It is also proposed the «recovery of constructions of vernacular architecture, which represent the history of space».

The construction of «a dyke with a crest height of 5,00 m ZT, to prevent flooding due to the rise in sea level and to defend the only constructions with a height lower than that», as well as the «repair of the dykes and their respective tide gates, allowing control of tidal levels in areas defended by dikes and reducing the risk of fluvial-maritime flooding».

The mitigation measures also include the «effective protection of areas where protected, threatened or important plant species are found to be in danger of extinction in Portugal», the diurnal butterfly. Melitaea aetherie, whose larvae feed on the plant Cynara cardunculus, which occurs in meadows that previously had agricultural use.

It is also foreseen the «creation of freshwater habitats for the conservation of waterfowl species that occur in the existing reservoirs». In this case, the Study identifies as endangered species ixobrychus minutus (little egret), purple ardea (red heron), ciconia nigra (black stork), Net rufina (Red-billed Duck), platalea leucorodia (spoon spoon), ixobrychus minutus (little egret) and purple ardea (red heron), Numenius Phaeopus (Sandpiper), actitis hypoleucos (Rock Curlew), Tringa nebularia (Greenleg), Phoenicopterus ruber (Flamingo), Tringa ochropus (Sandpiper-beak-beak), Plegadis falcinellus (Black Curlew).

Finally, a compensatory measure is announced for the creation, in the Serra Algarvia, of «suitable habitat for birds of prey», namely for the species that the EIA admits will be affected by the project: hieraetus fasciatus (Bonelli's Eagle), pandion haliaetus (Overfish), Falco peregrinus (Peregrine Falcon), vulture vulture (Owl), Gyps fulvus (emphasis added), Elanus caeruleus (Kestrel), circaetus gallicus (Snake Eagle) and circus aeruginosus (Marsh Harrier).

According to the Synthesis Report, «the adoption of these measures will make it possible to reduce the significance of the predicted negative impacts», with the promoters hoping that such compensations will ensure «the environmental viability of the NDE project».

According to the estimate made by the person responsible for the VEGA Fund, made in 2021, the NDE Herdade do Arade real estate project will represent a total investment of at least 100 million years. 

In the municipality of Portimão, this real estate fund is still owner of Quinta da Rocha, in the Ria de Alvor, which was also recently subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment, having obtained a favorable conditional Environmental Impact Statement.



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