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Environmentalists initiate legal proceedings to block desalination plants in the Algarve

ENVIRONMENTALISTS INITIATE LEGAL PROCEEDINGS TO BLOCK DESALINATION PLANTS IN THE ALGARVEToday, it has been announced that a platform that groups environmentalist associations has initiated legal proceedings to attempt to stop the the creation of desalination plants in the Algarve.

In a statement, the Sustainable Water Platform (PAS) claims that the Environmental Impact Statement (DIA) issued on April 3rd by the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) regarding the Preliminary Study of the Algarve Seawater Desalination Station Project (EDAM ), “does not meet the requirements that allow it to be classified as a DIA, and violates national and European laws”.

According to the “complaint” presented to the magistrate of the Public Ministry of the Judicial Court in Faro, it is requested that the institution “activate the necessary legal means, with a view to declaring the invalidity of the DIA issued, in view of the annulments from which it suffers, but above all due to nullities, definitively removing this administrative act from the legal order”.

The PAS had already contested the issuance of the favourable Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Portuguese Environment Agency at the beginning of April, promoting the construction of the seawater desalination station.

This Sustainable Water Platform was created in 2020, which groups together A Rocha Portugal, Água é Vida, AlBio - Algarve Agroecological Association, Almargem - Association for the Defense of Cultural and Environmental Heritage of the Algarve, CIVIS – Association for the Deepening of Citizenship, Ecotopia Environmental and Sustainable Development Association, FALA - Forum for the Environment of the Alentejo Coast, Faro 1540 - Association for the Defense and Promotion of the Environmental and Cultural Heritage of Faro, Glocal Faro, LPN - League for the Protection of Nature, Probaal - Association for o Barrocal Algarvio, Quercus – National Association for Nature Conservation and REGAR.

Among other arguments, the group once again emphasise that their “objective basis” is the fact that numerous elements of the project have not been presented and analyzed, which they consider to be “essential information and of central importance”, concluding that “several impacts of significant value were not assessed”.

On April 3rd, the Environment Agency issued the Environmental Impact Statement, favouring the seawater desalination plant project, which is to be installed in Albufeira, although subject to compliance with a set of conditions.

According to Environment Agency, despite considering that the impacts are not significant, “a set of demands aimed at safeguarding these possible impacts, as well as the development of possible additional minimization measures” were incorporated into the decision.

They say, given that the environmental impact assessment procedure occurred in the preliminary study phase, “a second assessment will occur in the execution project phase, with a view to verifying the environmental compliance of the execution project with the DIA.”

The construction of a desalination plant in Albufeira, costing at least 90 million euros, is one of the response measures to the drought affecting the southern region of Portugal, and it is expected that the equipment will have an initial capacity to convert potable sea water of 16 cubic hectometres.

According to Águas do Algarve, the company responsible for supplying water in the Algarve region, which is responsible for managing infrastructure such as dams or Wastewater Treatment Plants, the work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2026.

 

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