Lagos Council has expressed concerns about the planned electrification of the railway between Tunes and Lagos which it fears could become an eyesore, particularly in Meia Praia –an area renowned for its sprawling beach and dunes.
The council believes the works could have “permanent and very significant negative consequences” on Meia Praia’s otherwise mostly natural scenery.
It also says the pros do not outweigh the cons, stressing how the electrification of the railway would bring only minor improvements to people’s train-riding experience.
The local authority’s damning opinion came after it consulted the electrification project’s environmental impact assessment, which was up for public consultation until June 24.
The nitty-gritty of the council’s complaints includes the construction of seven-metre-high overhead lines to power the trains and the possibility of even higher overpasses.
While the local ‘câmara’ acknowledges that the electrification of the railway would bring it into the 21st century, it also believes it would have only a minor positive impact on the duration, quality and frequency of train rides that wouldn’t make up for all the damage that would be done to Meia Praia’s landscape.
Thus the local authority wants the project to be reviewed and changed so as to damage the area’s beauty and not affect ongoing municipal projects.
Readers may recall that Lagos Council is investing millions of euros in multiple projects in the Meia Praia area, including €1.5 million to build a four-kilometre boardwalk along the beach and “rehabilitate and recover” the beach’s dunes (click here) as well as €2.5 million to renovate the main Meia Praia road (click here).
It remains to be seen whether the local council’s opinion will have any effect on the progress of the project, which has been in the pipeline for years and should have already started at the very least.
In November, Portugal’s infrastructure authority (IP) said that the electrification of the Algarve’s railway was behind schedule due to the need to carry out environmental impact assessments.
It explained at the time that the planned electrification of the region’s railway was not expected to require environmental impact assessments – which usually take around seven months to be completed – which led to the delays.