Six environmental organisations have lodged an injunction in Loulé court to block the building of the Praia Grande tourist complex near Lagoa dos Salgados, Armaçao de Pêra, Silves.
The project submitted by Finalgarve, part of the property arm of failed bank BPN, was approved by Silves council under the leadership of Isabel Soares and was passed by the Minister of the Environment in November 2011 despite an international online petition of over 32,000 signatures and much local opposition.
The Sociedade das Aves (SPEA), A Rocha, Quercus, Geota, Liga para a Proteçao da Natureza and Almargem are joint sponsors of the legal move to nullify the council’s decision which in March 2012 gave the go-ahead for the €232 million project to build golf courses, three hotels and two tourists villages covering 108 hectares of the site.
The injunction also seeks to overturn the decision by the Minister, Paulo Lemos who gave a favourable tick to the Environmental Impact Assessment paid for by the developer.
The basis of the latest legal move is that the developer gave no alternative location for the project and did not regognise the area as being protected under the Berne Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (1979) which was adopted by Portugal in June 1982.
The Bern Convention is a binding international legal instrument in the field of nature conservation, which covers most of the natural heritage of the European continent. Its aims are to conserve wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats and to promote European co-operation in that field.
The Convention places a particular importance on the need to protect endangered natural habitats and endangered vulnerable species, including migratory species.
All countries that have signed the Bern Convention must take action to promote national policies for the conservation of wild flora and fauna, and their natural habitats; have regard to the conservation of wild flora and fauna in their planning and development policies, and in their measures against pollution; promote education and disseminate general information on the need to conserve species of wild flora and fauna and their habitats. Countries that signed up must also co-operate to enhance the effectiveness of these measures through the co-ordination of efforts to protect migratory species.
Work around and in the lagoon itself has been running on schedule with a new water level system and a cluster of small nesting islands in place as planned by Aguas do Algarve. This work will enhance the breeding potential for birds and provide a stable water level which in the past has been subject to reduction by pumping and by the intermittent creation of a temporary channel to the sea to alleviate high water levels which in the past have threatened the neighbouring golf course with flooding.
To sign the 'Save Salgados' petition, CLICK HERE
The 'Friends of Lagoa dos Salgados' platform includes the following organisations:
A Rocha, Aldeia, Algarve123, www.algarvedailynews.com, Almargem, Birding in Portugal, Birdwatching Algarve, LPN, Portugal Resident, ProActiveTur, Quercus, SPEA