Save Salgados!

“Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them” Bill Vaughn

Salgados bird 2

We were saddened to hear of the latest plans agreed by the Silves Municipality to develop a beautiful and unspoilt area of the Algarve. Fans of our ‘Portugal 365’ photography project may well recall our recent lovely photos of the bird sanctuary and lagoon at Salgados – with wonderful feeding flamingos and rare birds all enjoying a beautiful and sunny spot hidden from tourists:

Salgados lagoon

The plans include creating another tourist resort – and another golf course – in an area already saturated with similar projects and buildings. The Plans are believed to include the construction of three more luxury hotels, five holiday villages, shopping complexes and another 18 hole golf course. 

That wouldn’t be such a bad thing in this economic climate you might think – it will bring jobs and more tourism to the area? However the reality is that the area surrounding this lagoon is already full of hotel and apartment complexes – and many of them are empty and/or unfinished!

The Algarve Daily News have been campaigning against this for some time, their recent online article Silves Go Ahead for Yet Another Resort outlines the issues in detail and is a worthy read:

“How the destruction, partial or total, of a well known wildlife zone and the impact on the adjacent bird sanctuary at Salgados, a name that was missing from today’s announcement from Silves Câmara, can preserve Silves’ glorious natural legacy remains to be seen” 

The Algarve Resident in a recent article ‘Controversial project gets green light’  has also reported on this issue:

“Local residents have expressed their indignation and astonishment that such a project has been approved. The Salgados lagoon is a treasured wetland area where aquatic birds like Kinsgfishers, Great Kormorants and even flamingos are just a few of the species to be found.

But more importantly, the Salgados area has already been developed to the extent where thousands of holiday units lay empty for the majority of the year and developers have run into serious financial difficulties”

Salgados bird 4

When we visited the lagoon recently we were stunned at how beautiful – and peaceful – it was – and how many different birds were all feeding there. We sat on a viewing platform for about two hours, taking photographs and enjoying the view. We also remarked at the time at how fabulous it was to have something like this on our doorstep, and how lovely it was that it had not been over-developed like so much of the ‘Golden Triangle’ has been.

The lagoon has already been in the news recently for different reasons – the threat of losing its water supply was only averted when the local water board agreed to pump all of the water from a local treatment station into the lagoon – as its water supply was being rapidly drained to supply the local golf courses.

Salgados lagoon 2

The approach to the lagoon is already littered with unfinished – and unoccupied – hotel and apartment buildings, with overgrown palm trees, and roads that lead nowhere. The Algarve Resident article also expressed concern that the finances for the project are not even fully in place:

“The developers claim that finance is in place for the building of the first hotel, golf course and basic infrastructure. But this represents just a small proportion of the overall project incorporating over 5000 tourist beds. Fears abound amongst the local community that further investment from banks or other developers will be difficult to secure and Praia Grande may end up as nothing more than a building site and an eyesore for many years to come”

Even more worrying is the current financial position of the Developer’s Holding Company, as reported by the Algarve Daily News:

“On the same day that the Praia Grande developemnt was announced in Silves, the president of the holding company Grupo Galilei was appearing in a four hour grilling in a parliamentary committee hearing. He said that the future of the group “is difficult” and that it may have to dismiss 1,500 employees if they have to pay a fine imposed by the Bank of Portugal for its involvement in the BPN banking scandal” 

Algarve Daily News article 22/06/2012 Used with thanks

Salgados bird 3

So – what one thing can you do to help fight this?

Huge thanks must go to someone called Frank McClintock who has set up an online petition which you can sign:

Save Salgados, a unique internationally recognized birding sanctuary, from being destroyed!!

Please take a minute to click the link below and sign the petition – and then please share it with anyone else you know who would also be willing to help to block these plans:

 Save Salgados Petition

The petition requires 40,000 signatures for this matter to be raised in Parliament.

Salgados bird 1

And in the meantime – we hope that you enjoy our photographs of the lagoon and its wild birds – the question is – how much longer we will be able to enjoy such a beautiful place?

Salgados lagoon 3

With thanks to the Algarve Resident newspaper for their reporting of this – and thank you to Frank for setting up the online petition.

And please note that – as with all our images and text – all images contained in this website are copyright © Alyson and David Sheldrake, A3Art  unless otherwise attributed. All rights are reserved. Content and images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected or used in any way without express written permission.

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16 Responses to Save Salgados!

  1. Done, posted to facebook, twitter and google

  2. restlessjo says:

    Already posted the petition to mine. We were only there for the first time last year, and I was really surprised then by the amount of development around the lagoon, and as you say, most of it incomplete and seemingly unwanted. I find it very hard to understand why this much of an encroachment has been allowed, let alone to consider more.

    • ferragudofan says:

      no I can’t understand it either – and as they don’t even have all the money from investors on the table they can’t even say it is for financial reasons … it is very sad, it is such a beautiful spot.

  3. How sad, and unfortunately all too common. The ‘suburbia’ quote is just perfect. I presume the petition isn’t applicable for those of us in other parts of the world, but I will check it out anyway! It is another short-sighted expansion, particularly frustrating when there are vacancies in other similar projects. Your photos are just beautiful. Debra

    • ferragudofan says:

      thank you Debra! As far as I am aware – anyone can complete the petition – it just asks you for an email address and which country you are from – as people travel here from all over the world – and it is in everyone’s interests to try to look after our beautiful planet – then I think anyone can fill in the petition.
      Glad you liked the photos too – thanks for visiting the blog and commenting

  4. Matt May says:

    Have signed the petition and added an article with a link to this page for our visitors here on our news page

  5. Hi, i’m the Frank who started the petition, and I’d just like to say “Thanks” to everyone for spreading the word.
    We’ve got over 12,000 signatures now and it continues to grow. We had a protest down there last Monday which wasvattended by the President of the MPT, TV and Radio crews as well as local, national and international journalists. We are raising awareness of this awful proposed “development” which was threatening to slip in below everyone’s radar, and full credit must go to Paul Rees and Natash Donn for reporting on the issue in the first place. The petition has generated a letter from the Ramsar Convention to the Portuguese Government as well as ministerial visits and at present there is a team of lawyers working behind the scenes checking various legalities. Any news I get I will post on the various Facebook sites, (i.e. “Lagoa dos Salgados em perigo” and “Save Salgados”), on my two FB pages, ( and, as well as on my two blogs, and
    I will also be giving a lecture about this issue at the British Birdwatching Fair on the 17th of this month at 17.00 in the Anglian Marquee and will have a couple of iPads on my stand there to get signatures, so if anyone can make it please come along, (stand 93, marquee 4).
    Please feel free to get in touch with me on if you think that in any way you can help us in this battle – for battle it is! We’re up against big business already convicted of corruption who see in this development a huge amount of money to be made; they’re not going to be giving up easily, and I expect they’ll use every trick in the book, but we HAVE to win. This is the last piece of untouched coastline along the southern Algarve. Once it’s gone it wont be coming back …
    Thanks again to all of you and hope to see you down there myself one day soon.

    • ferragudofan says:

      thanks very much Frank for commenting and adding all the links here for people to support you. Sorry that we could not make the meeting on Monday but glad that it went well and that it is starting to generate some higher level interest – and congratulations on gaining so many signatures to date …
      we went back there the other week and we were amazed to see a huge bale of turtles swimming in the lagoon – complete with a large number of young babies – they wee so cute! and looked so at home there. Let’s hope indeed that this wonderful stretch of unspoilt lagoon can be saved.

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  10. maria says:

    quelle belle zone sauvage et spacieuse pourquoi encore construire ? l’urbanisation sauvage est un crime et les politiques qui laissent faire cela sont des criminels
    pourquoi ne pas apprecier cette nature telle qu’elle est ?

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