Sines Protest

Citizens lodge embargo blocking plan to raze over 1,800 mature cork oaks in Sines

Government has described EDP project as one of “indispensable public utility”

Citizens from all walks of life are celebrating today as the EDP plan to bulldoze over 1,800 mature cork oaks, to install a wind farm on the coast near Sines, comes up against a legal embargo.

Mass crowdfunding raised the almost €6000 needed to lodge the legal action, which was accepted this morning by Beja’s administrative court.

“The aim of this legal action promoted by the group of independent people “VAMOS SALVAR OS SOBREIROS” is to annul the effects of Minister Duarte Cordeiro’s August order recognising the essential public interest of the Morgavel wind project, opening the door to the felling of 1,821 cork oaks, a species protected by law”, says a post uploaded onto social media.

The group describes Mr Cordeiro’s order as “totally illegal”, suggesting it doesn’t meet any of the requirements for authorising the felling of thousands of trees.

And it raises questions of impartiality in the decision.

This is certainly not an end to the story, nor the EDP plan: there will still be a way to go.

GAIA – the group of environmental action and intervention – in whose name the embargo has been lodged explains that cork oaks are not just a national symbol, but one of the most important ‘biotopes’ occurring in Portugal, in terms of nature conservation, as they help preserve soil health and water quality.

As the group believes, “no one can justify destroying the environment in the name of decarbonisation”. It is an argument that will now have to play out in the courts.

This is ‘breaking environmental news’. So far, there have been no reactions from either the ministry of environment and climate transition, nor EDP which chose this location after a previous one was also refused, again on the grounds of the natural heritage that would have been lost if the wind farm went ahead as originally planned.

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