REMAS working group debates project contributions to planning and legislation

The Loulé Municipality’s team, which integrates the REMAS project (INTERREG SUDOE programme), together with the partner Higher Institute of Agronomy (University of Lisbon), promoted an online workshop aimed at national and regional entities to reflect on the integration of results of this project in the most relevant legal instruments in force.

REMAS is a project that aims to determine the risk of greenhouse gas emissions from forest fires, propose measures to minimize these emissions and improve the capacity to recover carbon stocks in burned areas. It is intended that these matters may have a legal framework in the future, namely the results acquired from the pilot areas that are being studied and where different forms of intervention after the fires have been tested: Serra do Caldeirão, in Portugal, the Aquitaine region in France, Chequilla (Guadalajara) and Chelva-Andilla (Valencia), both in Spain.

Thus, some of the relevant regulations and plans for the REMAS project were under analysis and which will soon integrate the results of this initiative financed by European funds. Environment, Spatial Planning, Climate Change and Defence of the Forest against Fires are the topics on which the instruments presented are inscribed, given their relevance to the central issue of REMAS, in particular in the field of mitigation of greenhouse gases in forest fires. The directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on ambient air quality and cleaner air in Europe, the resolution of the Council of Ministers that created the National System of Inventory of Emissions by Sources and Removal of Atmospheric Pollutants, the Report of the State of the Environment 2020/2021, as well as the National Emissions Inventory (estimate of greenhouse gas emissions caused by forest fires) were matters discussed in this session, in the field of Environment.

On the other hand, in terms of Spatial Planning, the National Programme for Spatial Planning Policy, Recovery and Resilience Plan and Integrated Landscape Recovery Management Plans were discussed at this workshop.

Also the issues related to Climate Change essential for this project, as well as the planning instruments associated with them, deserved the attention not only of the moderators, but of those who attended the workshop. This is the case of the Loulé Municipal Climate Action Plan, the first to be completed in our country, a document that guides political action and the prioritization of public investment in the Municipality of Loulé in the next decade. Among the regulations and plans, the Intermunicipal Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Algarve, the Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality 2050 and the National Energy and Climate Plan 2030 were also discussed.

Finally, the regulations and plans were under analysis within the scope of the Forest and the Defence of the Forest against Fires, such as the Independent Technical Observatory - technical study 'Fire Risk Reduction through the Use of Woody Biomass for Energy', the National Management Plan of Rural Fires (PNGIFR) and the National Action Programme of the PNGIFR or the Regional Plan for Forest Management (PROF) – Algarve.

At the end of the workshop, a SWOT analysis was carried out on the whole of these instruments, identifying the strengths and weaknesses in terms of their approach to forest fire risk and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions (by forest fires), considering the interaction between climate, forest and fire. In this same perspective, opportunities for improvement/review of these instruments and external threats to this end were also addressed.

It should be remembered that SUDOE-REMAS is a project led by the Association of Forest Municipalities of the Valencian Community (AMUFOR), and that in addition to the Loulé Municipality, it has as partners the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the University of Valencia, the Provincial Council of Valencia, the National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology - CSIC National Centre, the Higher Institute of Agronomy, the Higher School of Agricultural Sciences in Bordeaux and associated partners from different regions.