Expatica news

Council shamed on national TV over destruction of Lagoa wetland

LagoasBrancasSmallNews of the potential destruction of eleven hectares of valuable wetland in Lagoa finally hit the airwaves when Radio Gilão in Tavira interviewed campaigners live and RTP aired a report on national news on RTP3 and RTP1, writes lead activist, Geoffrey Blofeld.

Campaigners striving to save Alagoas Brancas spoke logically and passionately about the need to preserve nature and not destroy it. They talked about the rich eco-system, the busy birdlife, the link in the name to the city of Lagoa, and the benefits to residents and tourists of keeping this green oasis.

In contrast the Vice President of Lagoa council, Luís Encarnacao, said when interviewed by RTP that the council has ‘no proof of the environmental value of the site’ and talked only about the indemnity which the council would have to pay to the commercial developer.

Once again an official of Lagoa council refused to acknowledge the wealth of information presented by campaigners to the council over the last two and a half years since they stopped bulldozers from flattening the site. However, Encarnacao admitted that the council will shortly hold talks with Almargem to discuss that organisation’s recent environmental study of Alagoas Brancas. But he surprisingly pre-empted these talks saying that the council ‘has no reason to change its decision.’

The duplicity of Lagoa’s council officials is staggering. In his RTP interview Enarnacao stated that the other wetlands in the council are well protected. But, in fact, there is only one other site in the council which might fall into this category and its eco-system is significantly smaller than Alagoas Brancas.

Furthermore, Alagoas Brancas is unique in being a freshwater wetland. The importance of protecting all wetlands has been well-documented by environmentalists worldwide.

Campaigners hope that the local and national reporting of this case will force Lagoa council to finally heed the wishes of the Ministry of the Environment, the Assembly of the Republic, and thousands of local residents to find a solution to save Alagoas Brancas.

Lagoa council is now in the national spotlight and it is time for officials to stop finding excuses for doing nothing about this environmental crime and start to act like responsible elected officials.

It is time to make local politicians accountable for past and present mistakes. There are many questions which need to be asked in this case:

Why was the designation of this site changed quickly before the law changed?

Why was no proper environmental study carried out?

Why has important information been withheld from the public?

Why has Lagoa council avoided a proper dialogue with campaigners?

Why have environmental agencies avoided having a proper dialogue with campaigners?

Why is Lagoa council prepared to disregard an independent environmental report?

Why has no flood impact study been carried out?

Why is Lagoa council not doing more to create ‘green’ spaces for its urban residents?

What urban planners anywhere would destroy the site which gave their city its name?




UPDATE, See: https://www.portugalresident.com/2019/06/04/experts-warn-lagoa-council-build-on-alagoas-brancas-at-your-peril/


See: https://www.facebook.com/ines.vicente.399/videos/10217299536334853/UzpfSTMwNTE4ODYyNjU2NDU4Nzo3MDczMzY0MTMwMTY0NzE/