In September 2013, Platform Save the Tua has brought before the Administrative Court of Mirandela an injunction against EDP (the Portuguese electricity company) and the Portuguese State demanding the suspension of the construction works of the Foz Tua dam in the area covered by the concession contract for the construction and functioning of the dam. The legal basis of this injunction lies in the the environmental damages that the dimensions and features of such a project will cause to the Tua region and to the natural, historic and cultural heritage of the Alto Douro Wine Region as well as to the Tua historic railway line which are both included in a World Heritage site, by Unesco since the 14th of December 2001.
On December 2nd of 2013, Platform Save the Tua, subsequently brought before the same court an administrative action complementary to the previous injunction, demanding that the Concession contract between EDP and the Portuguese State be revoked.
On the 12th of March 2014, subsequent to the dispatch of the Portuguese State Secretary for Regional Planning and Nature Conservation which signals the properties to be expropriated for the construction of the Foz Tua dam, Platform Save the Tua has taken another injunction and a special administrative action against the expropriation procedures concerning the construction of the Foz Tua dam. These legal actions were brought before the Administrative Court of Mirandela and question the principle of public utility which is the legal basis of the expropriation. By this legal procedures it is expected to be proven that there are other possible alternatives, less expensive and less damaging to the environment to achieve the objectives invoked to justify the construction of the Foz Tua dam, namely the increase of the power capacity of the hydroelectric dams and wind power stations existing already and replace energy sources, like the solar thermal energy or biomass for domestic heating and hot waters, which is twice cheaper than the electricity generated by the planned Foz Tua dam.
On the 17th of March 2014, the Administrative Court of Mirandela has dismissed the injunction above referred in paragraph 1 considering that the loss resulting from the suspension of the project would be higher than the loss resulting from its continuation. However, the Administrative Court of Mirandela underlined that there are serious arguments raised by Platform Save the Tua which must be taken into account in the special administrative action referred above in paragraph 2, which is not decided yet due to its complexity. Platform Save the Tua made an appeal against this decision considering that the loss coming from the continuation of the works is irreversible and clearly more elevated than the benefits that come from the construction of the Foz Tua dam.
On the 30th of May 2014, the Administrative Court of Mirandela also dismissed the injunction referred above on paragraph 3 considering that this issue concerns a political decision upon which the Court should not intervene in compliance with the principle of separation of powers. On the 19th of June 2014, Platform Save the Tua has taken an appeal of this decision before the Portuguese Central Administrative Court of the North on the legal basis that this decision was taken upon a clear misjudgement of facts, by the dispatch of the State Secretary of Planning and Nature Conservation, which states that the expropriation of the proprieties is an administrative act subject to a judicial review and not, as assumed by the Court, a political decision.
In November 2014, Platform Save the Tua has brought before the Portuguese Ministry of the Environment anhierarchical appeal regarding the approval of the very high-voltage power line (VHVP), considering that this decision is not legal and it goes against UNESCO guidelines. This procedure was not responded within the legal deadline yet, which conducts to its implicit refusal. Therefore, the Platform Save the Tua has taken in January 2015 a Special Administrative Action before the Administrative Court of Lisbon against the Portuguese Environment Agency for the approval of the high-voltage power line that EDP, the electricity Portuguese company, is proposing for the connection of the Foz Tua dam with the national electric grid. This legal action contests the Environmental Impact Statement that gave “formal assent conditioned to the alignment “2SM” having the purpose to connect the Foz Tua dam with Armamar, going through an extension of about 40 km, crossing the river Douro at Valeira.
Therefore the main legal procedures taken by the Platform Save the Tua are still part of an ongoing process as well as the complementary injunctions that have not come to a decision yet, from which it is expected that the Concession contract between EDP and the Portuguese State for the construction of the dam is declared void and that the principle of public utility regarding the Foz Tua dam be dismissed. The Special Administrative Action taken in January 2015 is also still ongoing.
Platform Save the Tua has the support of several lawyers, joined together in the initiative “Lawyers for the Tua”. Read the Declaration “Lawyers for the Tua” and know its signatories here.
The mission of Platform Save the Tua is to protect the Tua Valley by raising awareness about the inconsistencies of the Foz Tua dam, which is being constructed in one of the most beautiful rivers in Portugal, with the values abided by Unesco World Heritage nomination of the Alto Douro Wine Region. We demand for this construction to stop immediately before a natural heritage spot of a high ecological, social and economic value and part of our legacy and Portuguese identity and culture suffers irreversible damages.