A2 Motorway, Portugal

The second largest freeway in the country, with 240.2 km in length, was completed in 2002 but raised concerns over the Castro Verde Special Protection Area.


The A2 highway connects Lisbon to Albufeira and passes through the districts of Setúbal, Évora, Beja, and Faro. It is the second largest freeway in the country, with 240.2 km in length. It was built to facilitate travel from Lisbon to resort areas on the southern coast. The construction of the A2 was completed in 2002.

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Basic Data
NameA2 Motorway, Portugal
SiteCastro Verde Special Protection Area (between Castro Verde and Aljustrel)
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific CommoditiesTransport services
Biological resources
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsPortugal's rate of motorization has expanded significantly in the last decade of the 20th century. The high investment in highway construction has been accompanied by the increase in private transport use. In 1990 highways had a length of 330 km spread across the whole country, growing to 737 km in 2010.
Level of Investment (in USD)6,5 milhões
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1997
End Date11/11/2002
Company Names or State EnterprisesBrisa (Brisa) from Portugal
Relevant government actorsGoverno Central de Portugal

Ministério do Ambiente
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGrupo de Estudos de Ordenamento do Território e Ambiente (GEOTA) Associação nacional de conservação da natureza (Quercus)

Liga para a Proteção da Natureza (LPN)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)UNKNOWN
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Forms of MobilizationLawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Noise pollution, Oil spills, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Air pollution
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Global warming, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
OtherThe old road to Algarve (EN2) have local economical activities, such as restaurants, cafes and shops selling local products that closed or have less visitors.
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Expansion of the protected area as a compensatory measure following a ECJ ruling
Development of AlternativesThe environmental organizations proposed the study of different areas and the deviation of the route section affecting Castro Verde Special Protection Area. In the end the original route section was approved and an EU ruling ordered as a compensatory measure the expansion of the Castro Verde Special Protection Area.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The motorway was constructed, but Castro Verde Special Protection Area was enlarged.
Sources and Materials

Habitat Directive and Natura 2000 network
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ARAGÃO, Alexandra. Ultrapassar o défice ecológico em tempo de crise (económica). Breves reflexões sobre o dever de restauração de habitats in Peralta et al (orgs.) Direito e justiça ambiental: diálogos interdisciplinares sobre a crise ecológica. Caxias do Sul: Educs,2014.pp.191-215.
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GARCIA, Graça Maria Dias. Impacte da Auto-Estrada A2 na Zona de Protecção Especial de Castro Verde: Efeitos na Distribuição e Densidade de Sisão. Resumo. Dissertação de Mestrado. Instituto de Estradas de Portugal, 2004.
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MADALENO, Marta; MELO, João Joanaz. Can EIA improve energy performance of transportation? 32ND ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR IMPACT ASSESSMENT Energy Future — The Role of Impact Assessment Porto, Portugal, 27 May - 1 June 2012.
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Luís Filipe (2000) Ambientalistas preparam queixa à Europa. Jornal Público, 11 de Fevereiro de 2000.
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GARCIA, Ricardo. Tribunal europeu condena Portugal pelo traçado da Auto-Estrada do Algarve. Jornal Público, 27 de Outubro de 2006.
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Media Links

Castro Verde Special Protection Area
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Ecoturismo na ZPE de Castro Verde

Castro Verde Sustentável.
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Other Documents

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Traffic jam in A2 motorway NEW

Picture from Douro Litoral journal.
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A2 road NEW

A2 Marateca Alcácer km68
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A2 map NEW

Map from Google Maps.
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Meta Information
Contributor Sofia Bento, Stefania Barca and Teresa Meira
Last update17/04/2018