Residents win quarry fight

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

A residents’ association has won a legal battle to stop the construction of a quarry in Tavira.

The PROBAAL group, formed as a legal association for local people to help with issues in the area, won an injunction at the Court of Loulé last month to halt work at Cerro de Leiria.

Members were concerned that the quarry, being built by construction and public works group Tecnovia, would have a negative effect on the area, “especially to the local water supply” and the destruction of what they described as “such a pleasant area”.

All work at Cerro de Leiria quarry has now ceased and questions are being asked about the legality of the licence granted last year by Tavira Câmara.

A resident of the area, who asked not to be named, told the Algarve Resident: “The court’s main grounds to grant the injunction would appear to centre on the probability that the licensing act was illegal, that the quarry did not take into consideration private interests constitutionally protected and that it was not of public interest.”

He added: “We did not expect that the court could come in with this decision. It is great for Portugal’s image abroad.”

A member of PROBAAL told the Algarve Resident: “It came as quite a surprise to us all to have a ruling in our favor as we truly expected the judge to go with the big businesses and the authorities.”

Residents are now asking what is going to happen to the site as a gaping hole has been left there.

“People had been afraid to put their heads above the parapet for fear of having them shot off but now we have had this result, a class action for damages can proceed. This involves 50 people who have all been adversely affected by the quarry,” he added.

“It is agreat to see that the system does actually work and that is a credit to the Portuguese legal system as a whole.”

A spokesman from Tavira Câmara told the Algarve Resident: “On July 22, we received a court order for suspension of all work in the quarry. It was also determined that the municipal fiscal department would monitor compliance and should the court order not be fulfilled by the company responsible for the quarry works, then confiscation of all machinery and equipment on the site would be take place.”

A spokesman from Tecnovia told the Algarve Resident this week: “It is too early to talk about this case. We have not yet received any information relating to the decision made by the court.”

The Algarve Resident tried to speak to Loulé Court but no one was available to comment on the case.