EIA to improve accessibility in the Furnas region of Azores

The development by Nemus of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the Improvement Project of the Accessibility to the town of Povoação in the São Miguel island, for the Tourism and Transport Regional Secretariat of Azores, is currently underway.

The project aims to define road solutions to improve access to the town of Povoação, including not only the connection between Furnas and Povoação but also an alternative to Furnas, which amounts to a studied road framework with about 19 km.

The project area is extremely sensitive and has very specific characteristics. This is indeed a very delicate area, either in biophysical terms or in landscape and cultural terms, with a particular touristic interest. In fact, the Furnas area and the volcanic lake of the same name are a must-see site of any tourist circuit of the island.

On the other hand, this whole region has manifestations of active volcanism, which are responsible for the occurrence of an outstanding geological heritage, a diverse hydrothermal system (with fumaroles, hot springs and mineral waters) and the landscape and cultural characteristics of the region (such as the use of fumaroles for cooking).

This diversity of singular aspects justified the creation of the Geosite “Caldeira do Vulcão das Furnas (Furnas Volcano Boiler)”, included in the Azores Geopark which is part of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network.

Taking into account the context of the project, the EIA of the Improvement Project of the Accessibility to the town of Povoação will be critical in this decision process with obvious implications in the sustainable development of the region.