According to idealista news, The Autonomous Region of the Azores is known for its daily seismic activity. On Monday (4 December) an earthquake was felt on the island of Terceira with a magnitude of 2.1 on the Richter scale. It turns out that, after an audit, the Court of Auditors (TdC) revealed that the territorial planning plans of the Azores do not prohibit the construction of buildings in areas of high seismic risk. For this reason, TdC wants studies to be carried out on the matter in order to guide real estate development strategies in taking into account seismic risk.
"Although several studies were carried out on seismic risks in the Azores between 2010 and 2018, the TdC admits that areas of high seismic risk were not identified, where construction should not be allowed" writes Público newspaper. Adding that “There is no knowledge of a municipal territorial planning plan that has carried out an assessment of buildings and activities located in areas of seismic, volcanic, geotechnical and flood risk, with a view to the possible relocation of buildings and uses and the adoption of technical criteria that minimises risks to people and property", says Cristina Flora, who is the advisor responsible for the TdC report.
This means that when deciding to proceed with a project, the public decision-maker does not have territorial planning instruments that allow them to know the seismic risk associated with the location of the new construction. In the Azores region, the municipalities of Praia da Vitória and Horta are the only exceptions to the rule, says the same newspaper.
In this sense, the TdC recommended that the municipalities and the regional government of the Azores should draw up territorial planning plans by island over the next three years, which should include the seismic risks associated with each area, which will be valid for both the private as for the public. And this recommendation will continue beyond the Azores, as Portugal is located in a geographical area with seismic risk. In this sense, all audits carried out by the TdC will take these parameters related to earthquakes into account.