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Land clearance deadline extended by ten weeks

13192The PM has extended the deadline after which property owners can be fined for not clearing scrub and trees around their properties.
António Costa announced today the postponement of fines on the day the first deadline was reached, March 15th.
The latest date is now ‘from June’ to give people time to clean the areas surrounding isolated houses, villages and roads.
"No fines will be imposed if these clean-ups are effectively completed by June," said the PM, adding that "The aim of the campaign is not to chase fines."
The GNR will continue to carry out actions to explain to a generally bemused public what their responsibilities are, with fines for non-compliance varying between €280 and €10,000 for individuals and between €3,000 and €120,000 for companies.
The government today will rush through a change to the decree-law so that fines can’t be issued until June 1st.
In a statement to journalists after a meeting with Portugal's association of councils, António Costa said that the GNR will start collating cases of land that has not yet been cleaned, but stressed that this process "is not chasing fines" and that the authorities will continue their education and information-giving activities.
For those who have not cleaned their land by today, councils can now do the work before May 31st and later charge the landowners.
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+1 #7 jamesrobertmayor@gma 2018-03-17 19:57
Presumably the aim "isn`t to chase fines", hopefully it`s to save lives, save the environment and people`s livelyhoods. But let`s get real, postponing the deadline is an invitation to dilly dally. In June it will probably be too hot to do anything except go to sleep!!
-3 #6 Peter Booker 2018-03-16 13:48
This measure by the Prime Minister is welcome. We have just received (Friday) an unannounced visit from the Presidente of the Freguesia, a bombeiro, two GNR and a forestry representative. They are visiting outlying houses in the Freguesia, and they gave advice on our particular circumstance, which they could not have done without the law change.

They are making a very sensible approach to a difficult problem, and on the day after the former deadline, it is impressively quick.
+5 #5 Jack Reacher 2018-03-16 11:18
Surely it must be easier to change the arsonist laws in Portugal than to go through this utterly pointless exercise of land clearance and enforcement. Let's not forget how many fires were deliberately started or started by sheer stupidity in 2017.
+6 #4 TT 2018-03-16 09:26
And will the rules be as rigorously enforced on the owners of large eucalyptus plantations i.e. the main offenders?
Call me a sceptic but I kinda doubt it.
0 #3 SueF 2018-03-16 08:10
Surely the authorities can treat these fines in the same way as they treat non-payment of taxes, by placing a lien on the property or seizing and selling the property to pay the amount owed.
+3 #2 liveaboard 2018-03-15 19:06
I wonder how they'll find the landowners to issue the fines?

Our GNR have been around; they issued a stern warning to an old Dutch tenant of an apartment that the land near his place should be cleared, including a small pile of firewood that should be relocated to 50 meters from the house.
He told them again, it's not his land, he just rents an apartment above the main house.
They took down his particulars, since they don't know who the owner is, and probably can't find out.
As with so many properties in Portugal, it's owned jointly by an extended family.
+3 #1 Adam.H 2018-03-15 17:13
This will yet again be like so many other Portuguese initiatives ... the foreigners and outsiders will rush to do what is required. Particularly in major fire risk areas. The locals will sit back and laugh at their efforts as their own land ownership is buried in confusing paperwork. Either someone who has never existed or who died many years ago - but no problem collecting any available EU Grants as their nominated representative! Just as with registering wells and boreholes !

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