Solutions to be presented by end of this year
The working group set up by the government to tackle the chaotic scenes that occur every summer at the Benagil sea caves in Lagoa held its first meeting on Wednesday.
The meeting took place at the facilities of the Algarve Regional Development Commission (CCDR) in Faro.
“Located near Benagil beach, these caves, particularly the Algar de Benagil, have attracted increasing curiosity from people in recent years. Many visitors arrive by sea, leading to a significant increase in the number of people in the area, especially during the summer,” CCDR Algarve says in a statement to the press.
“Therefore, it is necessary to set the maximum human capacity for the Benagil caves and regulate its access. This is essential for the protection and prevention of risk situations for people’s safety, especially considering the significant erosion that has been occurring in the area. Rules for visitors’ use must be established to enhance their safety,” it adds.
Citing paragraph 2 of the government dispatch No. 8777/2023 of August 30, the regional commission explains that the working group has set the following goals:
- a) Determine the human capacity for accessing the Benagil caves, considering their sensitivity and stability, as well as safety conditions for people and property;
- b) Define the forms and conditions of access to the Benagil caves;
- c) Specify the types of boats allowed to access the Benagil caves, as well as the procedures accessing it, including length, width, draft, maximum occupancy, type and activity, speed, and other procedures to be followed by the boats;
- d) Define access control mechanisms for the Benagil caves;
- e) Evaluate, propose, and develop safety measures for access to the Benagil caves;
- f) Evaluate, propose, and develop monitoring and control mechanisms for compliance with the established human capacity limit;
- g) Assess the possibility of establishing a single access fee for the Benagil caves.
Says CCDR Algarve, the meeting allowed the members of the working group to share their initial opinions, learn about data from various entities regarding visits to the Benagil caves, and establish how to achieve the goals that were set.
The next meeting is expected to take place in the second half of October.
The working group’s proposals and solutions are due to be presented by December 31.