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Curral das Freiras Cable Car Controversy

The Ecologists Os Verdes Party (PEV), claim that the approval of the Curral das Freiras cable car by the Regional Secretary for the Environment and Climate Change, as “criminal.”

This is the PEV official statement, which was sent to local newspaper JM.

“The conditions of the favourable Environmental Impact Declaration (DIA) given to the Cable Car System and Adventure Park of Curral das Freiras confirm the serious accusations made by the Ecologist Party Os Verdes (PEV), and the many people and entities that have been speaking out against this Project, namely within the framework of the Public Consultation of the EIA.

It is confirmed, as Os Verdes have always said, that fundamental issues that should have been studied before, within the framework of the Project or Study of Environmental Impact, the issuance and validation of the DIA, were not!

Among these issues are the geological risks (condition nº 15) that will place the population of the Curral and tourists in a situation of imminent danger, or even the very safety of the entire Project, whether with regard to fires (condition nº 2 and 3), or with regard to its functioning (Condition nº 4).

These Conditions also confirm that with regard to negative impacts on the Environment, these exist, are diverse and have not been properly studied! Among these, we highlight the impacts on Nature and biodiversity, as Os Verdes and other entities and people have accused in public participation. Whether with regard to Flora, or with regard to rare and so important species of birds, such as the Zino’s Petrel, (Pterodroma madeira).

The lack of credibility of the EIA, and of this entire Environmental Assessment process that legitimizes a previously determined political decision, is still visible in Condition No. 6, relating to Climate in Curral das Freiras. The demands made now in this Condition, give reason to the accusation made in the participation of the PEV and in other public participations, which pointed to the lack of credibility of the EIA data that were based on the Funchal meteorological station, and should never have been accepted by the Commission.

The confirmation of non-compliance with Protection Plans and Programmes and Spatial Planning instruments is also confirmed in other Conditions (No. 11, 12 and 13).

For Os Verdes, this DIA confirmed what Os Verdes had always said, that the necessary and fundamental preliminary studies had not been carried out to support a serious and credible Environmental Assessment.

This situation is all the more serious as, by posing many of the questions raised by Os Verdes, in the Conditions or in the minimizing measures, there is an implicit recognition by the Monitoring Commission of the veracity of the accusations and warnings that we have made about this Project.

As such, Os Verdes reaffirm that we are dealing with a mere pro forma (due to legal obligation) of Environmental Impact Assessment, all the more serious as the risks are real for the population of Curral da Freiras, for tourists and for the Nature that goes be greatly affected if this project comes to fruition.

The Regional Government once again pretends to respect the Law, in order to carry out decisions already taken. Decisions that it presents as great benefits for the population, when in reality there will be very few to reap great benefits, and many to be exposed to great dangers.

The Greens will not give up fighting for strict compliance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Law, nor fighting for the right of populations to live in safety and to protect Nature, as such the Curral das Freiras Cable Car System will remain in agenda of environmental struggles of the PEV.”

Samantha Gannon

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