Socialist Party questions olive grove project

Clarification regarding the approval of a project to create an “organic” olive grove in the protected forest areas of Vale da Ribeira da Fonte Benémola, in Querença, Algarve, was recently requested by members of the Socialist Party (PS) in Parliament.

“The approval of an 80-hectare project in a protected area which includes the Querença – Silves waterways leaves us feeling doubtful,” said socialist politician Miguel Freitas, adding that the government must explain why they decided to skip studies concerning the environmental impact the project would have on the land.

Freitas stressed that the cleaning and deforestation work in the area has been conducted with machinery that is not adequate for areas with these characteristics as they “destroy protected habitats”.

He believes that the Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA) should intervene, assess the situation and take adequate measures.

The PS Member of Parliament also revealed that the project’s promoters and local farmers are disputing the property among mutual accusations and threats. He therefore considers that this is not the appropriate time to carry out the project.