The electrification of the Algarve’s railway is behind schedule due to the need to carry out environmental impact assessments, Portugal’s infrastructure authority Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP) has confirmed in a statement to the press.
The clarification came following a report by Jornal de Notícias earlier this week which stated that the government had suspended its railway projects in the north and centre of Portugal as well as the Algarve.
This has been denied by IP, which says that all investments that are planned as part of the Ferrovia 2020 programme “are being developed and will be carried out”.
In the Algarve, the planned electrification of the region’s railway was not expected to require environmental impact assessments – which usually take around seven months to be completed – and that is why the works are delayed.
IP says that the environmental impact study for the railway stretch between Faro and Vila Real de Santo António (56km) was delivered to Portugal’s Environmental Agency (APA) in July, while the start of the environmental impact assessment of the stretch between Tunes and Lagos is expected to begin before the end of this month.
The Algarve’s opposition MPs for PSD – Cristóvão Norte, Rui Cristina and Ofélia Ramos – have criticised IP for the delays.
“Their words, deadlines and commitments have little relevance. They have already created an illusion that something very important was moving forward when it turns out it is stopped,” they said.
“They assured that the works would be completed by 2020, but now we know that it is unlikely they will begin before 2022,” the MPs added.