EDP is under investigation for the destruction and “severe pruning” of dozens of protected cork oaks (sobreiros) and scarlet oaks (azinheiras) in the parish of Salir (borough of Loulé).
The ICNF (institute of nature conservation and forestries) “guarantees that the work wasn’t authorised” and has now put an embargo on any further interventions.
EDP however claims that it put in a request for tree pruning last April – and because it did not receive a reply, went ahead with the work anyway.
The company says its initiative along a 6.5 km area near Quintã was necessary because the trees posed “an imminent risk to the safety of the electricity network”.
EDP’s statement went as far as maintaining that the company was simply “acting according to its legal obligations”, writes Correio da Manhã.
Landowners affected by the cull do not appear to see things this way, nor does the ICNF, whose regional director Castelão Rodrigues told the paper he doubts many of the trees will be able to recover.
SEPNA, the environmental arm of GNR police, is now ‘on the case’, working with the ICNF, interviewing witnesses.
The number of trees affected is 76.
Cork oaks and scarlet oaks are ‘protected species’ which by law cannot be removed without specific consent, but which in practicality all too often are.