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Government sends in the goats to help forest tidy-up

forrestThe Government is sending in the goats this year as part of its determination to clear forests of dangerous and inflammable scrub.

Herds of munching quadrupeds will be used in a pilot project, announced the Secretary of State for Forests, Miguel Freitas, explaining that the Government also will be funding the use of machinery to cut back scrub.

During a parliamentary hearing of the Committee on Agriculture, requested by the Left Bloc, the Secretary of State said that €17 million already has been made available to carry out fire prevention actions. The country will have a budget balanced between preventing and combating, forest fires.

“For the first time in Portugal, we will have an operational policy that shows what is going to be done for combat and prevention. Until now, the operational policy was only combat,” said the Secretary of State.

Asked by MPs about how the government will ensure that Infraestruturas de Portugal will comply with the new laws about cleaning forests, Miguel Freitas said that the company already has opened a tender, worth €18 million, to clean the road network verges and land alongside the roads, adding that “there is a great determination to move forward with the cleaning.”

Freitas may discover that goats are ideal for the task, need zero hydrocarbon fuel input and can be eaten when their work is done. However, a hot goat may need around 40 litres of water a day in the summer months, something for the Secretary of State to consider.

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