In February this year, four Algarve MPs from the ruling Socialist Party recommended the classification and preservation of wetlands in the region.
The MPs, Luís Graça, Ana Passos, António Eusébio and Fernando Anastácio, submitted a draft resolution suggesting that the government comes up with a concerted action plan to protect key sites in collaboration with the Association of Municipalities of the Algarve, in particular with Lagos, Silves, Albufeira and Loulé councils.
The most important wetland sites that need protection are Pául de Lagos, Alagoas Brancas in Lagoa, (pictured above) still under threat from Continente, Lagoa dos Salgados (Silves and Albufeira councils) which is under threat from the development of Millennium BCP's misnamed, 'Praia Grande eco-Resort,' and the Trafal and Foz do Almargem wetlands, under Loulé council.
Lagos City Council has championed its Pául de Lagos wetland by calling for a terms of reference and a period of public participation to classify the area correctly as an important natural site.
At its last meeting, Lagos Council decided to prepare a 'Pául de Lagos Detailed Plan' as part of its Municipal Master Plan (PDM), which aims to safeguard and promote the area that has “very particular natural characteristics” and to protect the space that is “of the utmost importance for the conservation of nature, locally and regionally.”
The new plan is expected to wend its way through the various administrative processes, taking not more than 370 days, “preceded by a public participation period of 15 days, during which interested parties shall have the opportunity to formulate and submit suggestions and information on any matters that may be considered in the framework of the procedure.”
The Council decided that a separate Strategic Environmental Assessment was not needed as the area already is covered in the PDM and the Lagos Urbanisation Plan.
The Council's desire to safeguard and promote Pául de Lagos will help its application for funds under the CRESC ALGARVE 2020 ‘Natural and Cultural Heritage’ section.
The Council wants to incorporate some adjacent areas identified in a Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds analysis that showed the banks of the Ribeira de Bensafrim are “give natural continuity to Pául's resources.”
The fact that Lagos council is taking its natural resources seriously puts Lagoa Council’s duplicity under the spotlight once again as it continues its covert support of Sonae Group’s application to build a Continente supermarket on top of the Alagoas Brancas wetland site.
Pául de Lagos wetlands