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Quarries will stay, says Faro mayor

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Faro Mayor Macário Correia has said that quarries causing alarm among local residents, who say they are adversely affecting their quality of life, will remain but that he hopes to address their concerns.

A resident, who asked not to be named, told the Algarve Resident: “Very few people in the Faro area are aware that more than 14 quarries are asking for industrial quarrying licences.

“The area that will be affected stretches from Monte de São Miguel to Goldra in Faro Municipality. Effectively, applications are for quarrying on the entire length of the hill behind Faro, on the north side of the range.”

The residents are concerned about the destruction of the environment in REN protected areas and about the effect on the water supply, which they consider will be devastating.  “Quality of life of anyone living anywhere near the quarries is unbearable. The infrastructure can just about cope with local tractors, let alone flat bed trailers moving giant caterpillar earth movers from one location to another. The noise, dust, scraping of rocks, is worse than 20 teachers scraping their nails down the blackboard. Tourism, you can completely forget anywhere near these areas. 

“Locals cannot go outside, are prisoners in their homes, and cannot even hear the phone ringing, even with the doors shut,” added the resident. 

The residents also claim that these quarries are moving into another dimension of heavy industry and say that the arguments for the quarries will be based solely on revenue for the region. 

“At present most of them are operating, and have been for years, without licences. Two giant caterpillars, working all day, can put out of business all surrounding houses for rental, maids, gardeners, pool maintenance, house maintenance, real estate agents and builders, not to mention the knock on effect in cafes, restaurants and retail outlets. The Algarve has needed tourism and the villa rental industry, away from the coast, is a major contributor to the Algarve economy,” said the resident.

At a meeting on June 29, the Faro Mayor discussed the concerns of the residents.

Macário Correia told the Algarve Resident: “These quarries have been working for years. I listened to residents’ concerns and I’m going to take action and talk with the companies that are in charge of the quarries to serve the interests of both residents and owners of the quarries.

“The residents have shown their concerns and we will do our best for the quarries not to harm their quality of life.”

“There are now more than 14 applications for change of the territory Municipal Master Plan (PDM). I have been in touch with the EU in Brussels, who are taking our complaint seriously,” added the resident. 

Meanwhile, a spokesman from the Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Development, which is responsible for the approval of projects of this kind, told the Algarve Resident: “These quarries have licensed status. There was a new decree law which provided the licensing of quarries that were illegal. However, these quarries cannot affect or interfere with the lives of neighbouring populations.”

Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]