Portugal’s councils reject new forest cleaning law

forrestPortugal’s councils have rejected the brand new legislation that obliges them to clear-up forest areas if landowners don’t perform this important fireplace prevention work.

The National Association of Portuguese Municipalities has requested an pressing assembly with the Government to hammer out a compromise.

“The Association cannot settle for that the State legislates with a view to placing the burden of resolving the whole lot that has not been carried out in many years on the municipalities, which, in line with the brand new legislation, have to do that activity in lower than three months,” mentioned Manuel Machado, the president of ANMP.

Government “must assume, as the municipalities have done in their budgets and without external support, once and for all their civil protection responsibilities ​​,” mentioned Machado, stressing that “the security of people and property is a sovereign function of the central State.”

Manuel Machado, who is also mayor of Coimbra, mentioned that regardless of successive requests from the Association, the State “has not carried out the registration of rustic property and for many years has not been capable of insist that forests are cleaned by their house owners.”

The State “has not even taken care of those forests under its own jurisdiction,” however needs now “that municipalities, in less than three months, do what has not been done in decades” mentioned Machado, saying the brand new legislation, “is not feasible.”

The councils’ stance is that the precedence ought to be on house owners to clear their very own forested land and never depend on native councils to take action at ratepayers’ expense, “It seems that the concern of the state was nothing more than to pass responsibilities to the municipalities,” and impose sanctions of the work is just not carried out.

But the Association recognises that “the tragic forest fires recorded in latest months require the councils, the State and different entities with duties on this space to undertake swift structural modifications and measures that minimise the potential of extra fires and that the implementation of reforms of the system of civil safety and forest administration, is important.”

The municipalities “are aware of their responsibilities,” take them on board and reaffirm their willingness and dedication to cooperate in fixing issues, however the central State additionally should assume its duties,” warns Machado.

This article initially appeared in https://algarvedailynews.com/information/13473-portugal-s-councils-reject-new-forest-cleaning-law