DRAP Tavira
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Are the community gardens in Tavira under threat? – Voicing your concerns

I was contacted by the association ACTIVE ECOTOPIA to translate documents and help spread the message about a possible threat to the Community Gardens in Tavira. Jim and I were part of the protest a few years ago to save the historic Agricultural Centre in Tavira where the Community Gardens are now flourishing.
I have translated the document from Portuguese into English with the help of DeepL and added some native English sense.

Coming from a large city in England we know what traffic congestion really means and why it is important to maintain as much green space and promote public transport and not cater just to cars by creating new roads. Tavira does NOT have a traffic problem. If there is a problem it is the lack of a sustainable vision that takes into consideration a long consultation process with residents and citizens.

Mayor of Tavira in 2020
Angela Rosa responding to Mayor at DRAP 2020
Angela Rosa responding to Mayor at DRAP 2020

Participation in the Public Consultation on the Sustainable Mobility Plan for the City of Tavira

Simon Pannett At DRAP 2020
Simon Pannett At DRAP 2020

To all citizens and visitors to Tavira who are interested in a truly sustainable transport system in city:

Three days ago, Tavira Municipal Council published a Sustainable Mobility Plan for the City of Tavira (PMSCT). It is being circulated as part of a public consultation. However, the deadline given for public contributions is only 8 days, until 21 March 2024, which means it’s practically impossible to meet.

This plan was drawn up by a consultancy firm, Figueira de Sousa, at the behest of the city council and, contrary to its stated aim of “involving citizens in all phases of the process”, this has not happened.

The plan contains huge weaknesses, errors of judgement and the proposals include “tearing up” the Coreto, Corredoura and Alagoa gardens to make room for more cars and traffic. It also references the Council’s intention to build a road right through the Tavira Agricultural Experimentation Centre (CEAT). A road that in 2020, in connection with the electrification of the railway line, received an unfavourable environmental impact assessment from the APA.

The Ecotopia Ativa Association is extremely concerned about the proposal for this Plan, and therefore asks all interested citizens, to contact the CMT at the following email address 

mobilidade@cm-tavira.pt and demand:

1. The presentation of Tavira’s Sustainable Mobility Plan through open discussions with the public

2. The suspension and extension of the Public Consultation to a time that allows for real citizen participation.

In addition, we ask that you consult the plan ( https://cm-tavira.pt/site/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/versao-consulta-publica-pms-tavira.pdf ) and convey your DISAGREEMENT with reasoned arguments against the measures proposed in it, which, contrary to the Plan’s title, run counter to a visionary promise of a sustainable transport system.

Some arguments can be found in the following document:


And in the article in the newspaper Barlavento:

At a time when the planet needs less cars and roads but visionary leadership we count on your informed support, so Tavira becomes a model city of genuine sustainability.

Please voice your concerns. Below is a suggested response but better still please let Tavira Council know your views after you have read the plan. Having active citizens and residents is part of the democratic process.


Here is a document in English and Portuguese for sending to the Municipal Council in Tavira

Copy and paste and add Name, Address: CC/NIF/PASS/CR:

Participation in the public consultation on the Sustainable Mobility Plan for the City of Tavira

I hereby express my total disagreement with the Plan that is currently undergoing public consultation.

Public Consultation

First, I would like to express my strong opposition to the time scales allowed for citizen participation.

Citizen involvement – Consultation period of Sustainable Mobility Plan.

It is completely unacceptable that the Plan, which contains almost 100 pages and whose public consultation was only announced on the Tavira Municipality’s Facebook page on Wednesday 13 March will conclude on 21 March. This deadline is impossible to meet if there is to be real participation and involvement by the majority of people in the community.

Furthermore, it contradicts a genuine process of involvement and engagement as indicated in the plan itself. Citizens and voters need to be allowed time to participate in all phases of the plan.

Environmental impact statement carried out by the Portuguese Environment Agency

An APA was carried out four years ago, which gave an unfavourable opinion on the road crossing at the CEAT- Centro de Experimentação Agrária de Tavira – [1] respective DIA content).

It is therefore neither understandable, nor acceptable, that the mobility plan commissioned and now presented for public consultation is still proposing the road to be built. The plan remains unchanged.
Municipality of Tavira, entitled Plano de Mobilidade Sustentável da Cidade de Tavira (PMSCT)” (Sustainable Mobility Plan for the City of Tavira), 

Why is the environmental impact statement being ignored?

The Sustainable Mobility Plan is from the past, a rehash which contradicts current models of sustainable urban mobility by favouring car transport, neglecting the issues of public health, climate, pollution, water resources, social cohesion and connection to community.

This obsolete plan does not respect the guidelines of the:
European Commission,
1 the European Council.
2 the European Parliament for Sustainable Urban Development, nor the European Pact to remove car traffic from city centers.
3 The Plan has not taken into account what characterises Tavira, in particular the city’s natural and historical heritage.
CEAT (Centro de Experimentação Agrária de Tavira) represents and has been defended, as a strategic project for the town and the region. It is a prime and unique centre for promoting the Mediterranean Diet.

The value and the need to protect CEAT’s natural and cultural heritage is clearly expressed both in the aforementioned DIA and in the recently presented Activity Plan for Safeguarding the Mediterranean Diet 2023-27. (UAlg/ CCDR Algarve I.P.).

This centre is part of the strategy of the former Regional Directorate for Agriculture and Fisheries and the municipality of Tavira, as a place of identity for the Mediterranean Diet and as a hub for innovation.

In fact, among other things, CEAT plans to install a Mediterranean Diet farm, a Interpretation Center for the Mediterranean Diet, experimentation and research fields, the Earth Museum and to continue the work of recovering and preserving “forgotten” traditional varieties of Mediterranean species.

These activities will preserve biodiversity, enhance the value of the Mediterranean lifestyle and pass it on to future generations, demonstrating sustainable production methods and boost the range of economic activities linked to the Mediterranean Diet.

This plan contains a proposal for the irreversible destruction of this emblematic space, this green lung of the city, which should be an agricultural and interpretive urban park for the enjoyment of the local community and an example and a source of great pride for Tavira as a representative community of the DM-PCIH, UNESCO.

The intention to establish the PN 371+317 road, which runs along 608 meters, in areas with predominant agricultural occupation (orchards, vineyards and uncultivated areas) belonging, for the most part, to the Agricultural Experimentation Center of Tavira of the DRAP Algarve/ CCDR Algarve I.P. Agriculture and Fisheries, will destroy the unique character of this space, which since 1926 has been and continues to be part of Tavira’s identity.

It should also be noted that the solution of re-establishing the PN 371+317 road was not provided for in Tavira’s PDM, which has been in force for four years.

There are other, more serious impacts of the municipality’s draft Mobility Plan. This plan is another missed opportunity to “think of the city as an orderly, truly sustainable and enjoyable, and pleasant place for its people”:

i) Passing a traffic lane through CEAT’s traditional fruit plantation areas next to the strategic buildings of the DM Competence Centre/Sustainable Food Hub and Schools results in a clear loss of natural, cultural, educational and social heritage. If the creation of a “new road” is really necessary, it could be planned close to the western periphery of CEAT, an option that could serve the people of the parish of Santa Luzia, providing better access to the Earth Museum and CEAT’s “green lung”, without jeopardising CEAT’s values, and the DM Competence Centre (of national importance), as well as its pedagogical connectivity with the cluster of schools, which would also no longer be “trapped” by roads and insecurity, and would benefit from the full enjoyment of the Mediterranean Diet farm.

ii) Possibility of installing an intermodal transport centre (alternative 1) north of the N125, without pedestrian access, on the line of the road that is suggested to be created (the city ring road) to cross the CEAT.

The municipality has other options and approaches for the intermodal transport hub and its mobility and accessibility.

iii) Possibility of installing an intermodal transport centre (alternative 2) in the CEAT where Tavira’s community gardens are currently located. The community gardens project marks the beginning of the revitalisation of CEAT, advocates the Sustainable Development Goals and provides food self-determination to more than 67 households in the city – this option is unacceptable and demonstrates how out of touch with reality and the community this plan is.

There is also pressure on an area within the urban fabric which has  sensitive accesses such as R. Dr. Fausto Cansado, which is a pedestrian zone for children and adolescents on their way to school.

iv) Increase in the heat island phenomenon with the replacement of various existing green areas (which are already quite scarce in the city) with more concrete, impermeable areas dedicated to car circulation and parking.

v) Cutting through the Coreto public garden to make way for a traffic lane, increasing pollution, insecurity and a reduction in the quality of the public space, in the only green space.

(the public has already given clear signs of opposition to this strategy); 

vi) Cutting down and destroying the character of the Alagoa public garden, yet another blow to the city’s urban cultural landscape to serve mainly gentrification models for the city;

vii) Destruction of the Corredoura Garden to make way for a parking lot with a traffic lane to the centre and to promote car traffic in the heart of the city; 

viii) Transforming the only large wasteland in the city, the fairs and markets park, into a parking lot when they should be promoting the implementation of MORE green areas such as school and sports grounds;

ix) waterproofing of flood zones in the city center.

This Plan does not present any improvements for the city, but instead suggests several interventions that do not reflect the needs, desires or wants of the community of the city of Tavira.

Tavira and the planet does not need MORE cars, MORE insecurity and a decrease in the quality of the urban landscape.

It is NOT a sustainable mobility project, it is incipient in its rationale and runs counter to the very SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) it invokes. Furthermore, in this proposal, there was NO consultation with the real users: the people who use the city’s central spaces on a daily basis, namely shopkeepers and all of us who live in Tavira.

For all these reasons, I do NOT agree with this Mobility Plan.

It is imperative and crucial, in view of the complexity of the analysis of this Mobility Plan for the city of Tavira, its strategic importance and respect for the active participation of citizens, that the Public Consultation be extended beyond March 21st.




Document from ACTIVE ECOTOPIA ends

Community Garden Tavira
Tavira Community Garden
Covered area Tavira Community Garden
Installing irrigation in Tavira Community Garden

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