Ancão controversy: landowner claims “sole intention” was to clean land ahead of wildfire season

A new twist has emerged in the controversy involving the destruction of century-old trees near Praia do Ancão in Loulé, with the company that owns the land claiming its “sole intention” was to clean the area as a prevention measure ahead of the wildfire season.

Lisfina, a real estate and tourist investment company based in Lisbon, said it had the “best intentions” and aimed to reduce the land’s fire risks.

“There wasn’t any deliberate intention to cause damage to the area’s natural heritage as that would go against the goals of the land-cleaning initiative,” the company added.

Lisfina also said it acted with transparency and denied any involvement in the alleged construction of a car park nearby.

The company also expressed an interest in “reforesting” the land and said that the works it carried out followed rules and guidelines and had the approval of competent authorities, such as the Nature and Forest Conservation Institute (ICNF).

“Lisfina understands residents’ concerns and would like to reassure them that the company is improving a plot of land that faced sustainable development issues and was at risk of fires,” the company adds.

On a closing note, it says it will reveal its plans for the area soon.

The controversy erupted earlier this month when local citizens expressed their concerns over the felling of century-old trees (click here).

“The Ria Formosa starts here. The number of animals mating at this time of year is huge. It is sad to see the birds refusing to leave their nests, even when these powerful machines are coming their way,” the residents said.

Loulé Council has maintained that it played no part in the destruction of the trees, which it called an “environmental attack that will not go unpunished”.

It added that the council had not, and has not, received any kind of licensing request for any urban operation on that specific plot of land.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com