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Lagoa's threatened wildlife wetland - building licence lasped 18 months ago

egretEnvironmental association Almargem has delivered the strongest argument yet to the Algarve’s regional environmental water authorities to halt the burial of Lagoa’s ‘Lagoas Brancas’ wildlife haven under metres of rubble and earth in preparation for the expansion of industrial units and a supermarket.

As well as sending a provisional list of the now-threatened wildlife, Almargem points out that the original development permission has lapsed, in fact it ran out 18 months ago and the building company, AGII Atlantic, should not be carrying out any work at all.

The letter from Almargem to the head of the Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente (APA) and of the Administração da Região Hidrográfica do Algarve (ARH-Algarve) reads as follows:

“During recent contacts with Lagoa council, we received a copy of the favorable opinion of the APA / ARH-Algarve, dated July 16, 2013, regarding the application for the issuance of title of use of water resources submitted by the company AGII Atlantic - Sociedade de Gestão e Investimento Imobiliário, SA, within the scope of an Allotment Urban Operation (AEE2 Execution Unit), to be carried out in the building located in Alagoas Brancas, in the parish and municipality of Lagoa.

As you are certainly aware, the earthmoving works at the aforementioned site began in mid-January, prompting a wave of protests from local citizens who are sensitive to environmental issues. In February, the Council placed an embargo on the work for the alleged lack of licences.

In analysing the opinion of the APA / ARH-Algarve, we find the following:

1. The work on the development in question should have been completed within "a period of two years".

On this point, three and a half years have passed before the work started, a circumstance that leads us to ask about the possible expiry of the security that was issued.

2. The APA / ARH-Algarve considers that the water in the area is of “poor quality.”

On this point, we would like the APA / ARH-Algarve urgently to travel to the site in order to re-evaluate the area in question, since, in our opinion, Lagoas Brancas is a wetland with sufficiently significant natural values to warrant preservation, as can be deduced from the following list as confirmed by Almargem:

A) The presence of at least 71 bird species, including some included in Annex A-1 of Decree-Law no. 140/99, of April 24, as amended by Decree-Law no. 49 / 2005 of 24 February (the Birds and Habitats Directive), namely:       

Western marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus)
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Great Egret (Egretta alba)
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
KIngfisher (Alcedo atthis)

B) Lagoas Brancas harbours a large colony of Mediterranean turtle (Mauremys leprosa), a species included in Annex B-II of Decree-Law 140/99, of April 24, as amended by Decree-Law no. 49/2005 of 24 (Birds and Habitats Directives), as well as a number of equally protected species of amphibians such as the Mediterranean Tree Frog (Hyla meridionalis).

C) The status of part of Lagoas Brancas as a "temporary Mediterranean pool" priority habitat 3170 contained in Annex B-1 of Decree-Law no. 140/99, dated April 24, amended by Decree-Law No. 49 / 2005 of 24 February (Birds and Habitats Directives).

We therefore consider that work in progress should be embargoed under the provisions of Law No. 44/2012, of August 29, until the importance of this site is duly assessed in terms of natural values ​​and the process of allotment is reviewed accordingly in question.

Almargem Association



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+2 #2 Corinne Correia 2017-02-23 17:54
It is an outrage that the destruction of the wetlands has even been a case...These Lands are the habitat of so many species of birds & wildlife..It is also a huge attraction for Tourism & for photography & should be a treasure of the Algarve..The news of this battle has I know, reached bird & wildlife enthusiasts from many Countries & the outrage is enormous..The Wetlands must be saved.
+4 #1 Kathie Lancaster 2017-02-22 01:05
Well the ball really is rolling now! Save the WETLANDS

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