Loulé Council has denied involvement in the destruction of century-old trees on a plot of land near Praia do Ancão, calling it an “environmental attack that will not go unpunished”.
But the council’s reaction has come as a “total surprise” to a group of citizens who had previously contacted the town hall about the destruction of the trees and were told that a felling licence had been issued.
In a written response, the chief of the council’s inspection department had said the works were “duly licensed by the Institute of Nature and Forest Conservation”. A copy of the document, dated April 16, has been sent to the newsroom of our sister publication Barlavento.
However, in a statement sent to the press on Monday (May 11), the council denied any involvement in the destruction of the trees.
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.
The council also said that it has alerted ICNF, the entity with the power to act in these matters, about the “massive destruction of trees” in the Ancão area and added that it will contact the owner of the land and demand the “immediate replanting of similar species of trees”.
The issue was raised by local residents who believed the trees were being cut down to make way for a car park near the beach, which they say is in fact not the case.
“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 in an email sent to Barlavento.
“Tree stumps are now being removed,” they add, complaining that coastal erosion will intensify as the trees served as a protective barrier.
The citizens also stress that the area is “Partially Protected” (PP) according to the Ria Formosa Natural Park’s Development Plan.
Further reactions from Loulé Council are now awaited.