High tension power lines in Tavira.jpg

High tension power lines in Tavira

Dear Editor,

After years of planning and hard work we finally completed purchase of our dream plot of land in the Algarve, last April. Moving from Brighton, England, where we are both heavily involved in the organisation of arts and cultural events, we plan to bring an influx of artists, musicians and younger tourists into the area. Our intention is to establish an environmentally-based, self-sustained rural tourism and arts centre.

However, we have just discovered to our horror that, as part of the installation of new energy infrastructure, the Spanish power corporation REN have proposed a 150kV electricity pylon route directly through the centre of our property, in the hills north of Sta Catarina da Fonte do Bispo.

We were not informed of these proposals by the Junta, Câmara or the electricity companies, in fact we only discovered them through your reporting of similar proposals. We now have less than three weeks to gather support, compile a petition and submit an objection to the proposed route.

Not only will this affect our future livelihood and creative tourism in the local area but also wildlife in a stunningly beautiful setting. We are also deeply concerned about the effects that the lines will have on the health of many people living in close proximity, including our daughter, born in Faro, just three months ago.

I am sure you are well aware of the numerous scientific reports relating to the dangers of electromagnetic radiation from power lines and its relation to increased cases of childhood Leukaemia. These include a report published in the British Medical Journal by Gerald Draper, Tim Vincent, Mary E Kroll and John Swanson who studied 29,000 children with cancer, 9,700 of them with Leukaemia. They assessed the distance these children lived from power lines. They found that even at distances up to 200m from pylons, the incidence of Leukaemia in children was 64 per cent higher than in those living over 600m from a pylon (British Medical Journal, June 4 2005).

We are writing to you to raise the profile of this issue and also to appeal for help from your readers, in particular anyone who lives in our locality and may also be affected. We would welcome contact and advice from anyone involved in the successful Silves campaign, and would urge everybody to make the visit to their Junta de Freguesia to check for similar devastating plans.

TOBY, NINA AND BEATRIZ JARVIS, Sta Catarina da Fonte do Bispo

Editor’s reply: Dear Jarvis family, thank you for your letter. The high tension power lines are certainly going to affect many people living in the Algarve’s (still) unspoilt countryside. We have received many complaints from readers describing their Algarve dream as becoming more of a nightmare since plans for the erection of power lines across the Algarve have been announced. I would like to invite readers who have been affected by this matter to send in their views. I would also like to refer you to our article on page 5.