Case remains open

A CASE opened by the European Commission to investigate illegalities surrounding Quinta da Ombria, a development between the villages of Querença and Tôr, in the north of Loulé, has not yet been closed (See The Resident, February 15).

This development, which was first approved in 2004, never went ahead due to incomplete Environmental Impact Studies that were revealed to the European Union by local environmental organisations.

A spokesman from the EU Commission said: “We were informed by the Portuguese government to review their environmental impact studies to prevent negative effects to local habitats of the area but officially we have not been informed of what has been done.”

At the time, Brussels considered that Portuguese authorities had not included effective measures in the plans to safeguard three rare local ecological habitats and a species of Portuguese thyme, Thymus lotocephalus.

In 2007, the project, which originally included 1,700 beds and a 143 hectare golf course, was modified with the addition of environmental management for the golf course to minimise the use of pesticides. The removal of plans to construct an urban area among oak trees also contributed to the project’s Environmental Impact Study being approved.

Brussels now wants to ensure that the alterations promised in the new plans will be carried out and that the threatened habitats will remain protected. “Until then, from the EU Commission’s point of view, the case will remain open” said the spokesman.

Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected]