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Ponta Delgada ,  May 29, 2019

Amendments to Legal Scheme on Regional Agricultural Reserve safeguard soil preservation, says João Ponte

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry stated in Ponta Delgada that the amendment to the Legal Scheme on the Regional Agricultural Reserve proposed by the Regional Government safeguards the preservation of the most fertile and productive soils for the agricultural sector.
João Ponte stressed that the legislation "focuses on this fundamental goal of enhancing the protection of the areas reserved for agriculture, which have excellent conditions for the development of agricultural activities." In this regard, he added that the Regional Agricultural Reserve accounts for 17% of the island territory and, accordingly, it has to be properly managed.
The government official spoke at the end of a hearing at the Committee on Economic Affairs with regard to the proposal for a second amendment to the Regional Legislative Decree regulating the Legal Regime on the Regional Agricultural Reserve (RAR). On the occasion, he called for the need to clarify which interventions can be undertaken in the management of farms.
Accordingly, João Ponte pointed out, for example, the possibility of installing renewable energy projects on RAR land since their installation does not deprive the fertility of soils and has benefits from an environmental, economic and social standpoint.
However, the authorisation for interventions under exceptional circumstances requires the confirmation that there are no technically and economically feasible alternatives for the installation of these renewable energy production projects.
On the other hand, the proposed legislative amendment will reinforce enforcement actions on RAR, through the Regional Environmental Inspectorate.
After the approval of the legislation at the Legislative Assembly, João Ponte added that the Government will publish a regulatory decree establishing specific limits and parameters for buildings covered by the special scheme.
"With this amendment, we intend to reinforce the mechanisms that will prevent the subjectivity and partiality of decision makers regarding the requests made under the RAR special scheme," said João Ponte, who informed that IROA – Regional Institute of Agrarian Planning is the entity responsible for managing the RAR.
According to the Regional Secretary, the special situations foreseen under RAR were confirmed in the last 10 years for 443 agricultural-related works and the construction of 16 houses for farmers.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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