“Alagoas Brancas protects Lagoa from climate crisis”

Dear Editor,

In response to the latest injunction in favour of the Alagoas Brancas, the Lagoa Mayor says that the Câmara “respects and will always respect any decision from Loulé’s Administrative and Tax Court or any other court”.

In truth, the Câmara did not respect the ruling by the Loulé court in 2001. Instead, the municipality disrespected the ruling and repealed it to the Lisbon court.

He continues: “There is a decision from the Central Administrative Court and Lagoa’s Urbanisation Plan, dating back to 2009, which gives the developer total legitimacy,” adding that the plan has ‘thumbs up’ from all relevant entities (APA, CCDR and ICNF).”

In 2022, we know much more about the climate crisis, its devastating impacts, and the importance of protecting wetlands than we did in 2009. The Alagoas Brancas is an integral part of protecting Lagoa from this crisis.

It contains an incredible amount of biodiversity (over 300 species of flora and fauna), is extremely important for flood protection, has an enormous carbon storing capacity, and plays a critical role in the health of the aquifer. The national NGO Geota recently stated that nothing should be built on the Alagoas Brancas, and the developments around it should never have been allowed.

In addition, the Câmara and developer are breaking the law by burying turtles alive that are protected under the Bern Convention.

According to legal experts, the urbanization plan of the city of Lagoa since 2008 is a complete illegality. Alagoas Brancas is classified in the municipal master plan as a floodable area. Authorities chose to ignore this classification. These “flood zones” are flood protection areas. Nothing can be done there unless conditions such as prevention and risk reduction, ensuring the safety of people and property and the guarantee of natural conditions for infiltration and retention of water amongst others, are met. Looking at all that area, including Fatacil, these conditions are not met. This is something the City Council does not address.

The mayor also says: “Inverting this process would mean not following the law…a series of consequences would follow including a multi-million-euro compensation for the developer which would jeopardise the local council’s financial stability.”

This statement is not true. In 2018, the municipality had the opportunity to get out of the development without penalty but chose to continue to pursue it. In the plans for the development, the municipality has been given two lots of the 11. They have a vested interest in seeing this development to completion, and it has nothing to do with jeopardizing the council’s “financial stability”. The Câmara is not being honest with the public.

Save the Alagoas of Lagoa’ group