After months of discussion, the route that will be taken by the controversial high-tension pylon network, designed to supply back up electricity to the Eastern Algarve, has finally been announced. Although the need for the backup electricity supply is widely acknowledged, particularly as the region’s airport and largest hospital are both based in the eastern area, the route for the pylons has always been a sensitive issue. This was exacerbated last year when work on the network was started before the results of an AIA – Environment Impact Association – report on which was the best route for the pylons to take. Albufeira Câmara only stopped working on their preferred route after some pylons had already been erected in the area.
Shortly afterwards, the AIA gave the Algarvean câmaras two alternatives for the high tension network: the Southern route, running parallel to the Via do Infante A22 road or the Northern route, which passes through some of the region’s nature reserves. Then the Ministry of the Environment rejected the idea of the pylons taking the Southern route for security reasons.
However, the region’s câmaras and the AIA have now come to a common agreement. In a recent press conference, jointly held by the Algarvean câmaras, the AIA, the National Electric Network (REN) and the Municipal Association of the Algarve (AMAL), it was announced that the pylons would be erected along the north route, although some adjustments have been made. “The high tension pylons have to go through somewhere; the network can’t be in the shape of a zig-zag,” the president of AMAL, Macário Correira explained. But he revealed that there have been some changes to the route, in order to avoid ecologically sensitive areas around São Brás de Alportel. According to Macário Correia, the pylons will be diverted to run closer to Tavira.