In a statement sent to Lusa agency, Zero revealed that the agroforestry project at Herdade da Batalha, whose promoter is the company Azul Empírico Lda, “received the ‘green light’ from the Coordination and Regional Development Commission (CCDR) of Alentejo”, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) authority.
On the website of the Portuguese Environment Agency, consulted by Lusa, it is possible to see that the project obtained, on the 3rd of February, a Declaration of Environmental Impact (DIA) with a “favourable conditioned” opinion, issued by the CCDR of Alentejo.
For the environmental association, this decision paves the way for the installation of more than 500 hectares of monoculture citrus fruit in the middle of the Comporta-Galé ZEC.
The agroforestry project at Herdade da Batalha “was submitted to an EIA as a reconfiguration of a previous project that provided for the implementation of an avocado monoculture, starting to promote the production of tangerines, under the same regime”, claimed Zero.
The investment “appears not to have a true agroforestry component, on the contrary, it will lead to the conversion of forest area into agricultural area, with around 540 hectares in an irrigated monoculture regime”.
For this reason, according to Zero, this project is in “apparent contradiction with the regulatory conservation measures” of the “management plan proposed for the ZEC Comporta-Galé, which provides for the interdiction of changing forest use to agricultural use, or changing between types of agricultural use”.
And the promoting entity, for the implementation of the same, “will resort to 26 underground abstractions that will be able to extract more than three million cubic meters of water per year, putting an additional pressure on water resources”.
In the statement, the environmentalists also warned of “the growing artificiality of the Natura 2000 Network”, since “the area affected” by this type of project within the ZEC Comporta-Galé “will reach close to 5,000 hectares”, that is, “15 .24% of this classified area”.
A situation that “mirrors what has been happening in the areas of the Natura 2000 Network in Portugal”, lamented the environmentalists.
Environmentalists against citrus fruit project
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