The Council of Ministers has approved the Serra da Estrela National Park Revitalization Program (PRPNSE), with an allocation of €155 million from national and European funds. This measure aims to increase the resilience of territories and boost the regional economy and covers 15 municipalities in the Intermunicipal Community of Beiras and Serra da Estrela.

At stake are several structural projects to protect the Serra da Estrela ecosystem, boost the regional economy and promote sustainable development in this region, explains the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion in a statement sent to newsrooms.

The PRPNSE was created to respond to the forest fires of the summer of 2022, “which devastated more than 30 thousand hectares of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, a quarter of its total area, causing an environmental, economic and social calamity that affected the populations of the municipalities in the territory”, explains the ministry supervised by Ana Abrunhosa.

In September 2022, the Council of Ministers approved measures worth 200 million euros for municipalities in this region and municipalities with a burned area equal to or greater than 4,500 hectares, due to that year's rural fires.

On that occasion, in addition to the responses to the declaration of the state of calamity and the implementation of extraordinary support measures, a program was also prepared, with the coordination of the Central Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDRC), which had the support of local authorities, public bodies and entities, associations of forestry producers, businesses and higher education institutions, in a total of 68 different local and regional entities.

Among the various measures of this program are support for the recovery of villages and the construction of more fire-resilient buildings, as well as the requalification of affected infrastructure and equipment and the establishment of a network of walking trails and river beaches. The construction of the Cortes Dam and preparation of the Senhora De Assedasse Dam project; the creation of Special Economic Zones and business reception areas; or a Technological Free Zone to develop innovative products and services in the energy, agri-food and tourism sectors are some of the measures to be implemented on the ground.

Among the 15 municipalities covered by this program are Almeida, Belmonte, Celorico da Beira, Covilhã, Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, Fornos de Algodres, Fundão, Gouveia, Guarda, Manteigas, Mêda, Pinhel, Sabugal, Seia and Trancoso.