Public wins battle over routing of power lines

SECRETARY OF State for the Environment, Humberto Rosa, has now decided to site proposed power lines between Sines and Portimão, closer to the Barragem de Odelouca (Odelouca reservoir), thereby meeting the wishes of the local population. On this occasion at least, it is a victory for the general public, as the original plan had been to site the power lines close to the villages of Alferce and Fornalha, a routing which many feared posed a danger to public health.

The new site for the installation of the power lines is practically uninhabited and, therefore, eliminates public fear. During the discussion period for the project, the proposed Alferce location was widely condemned by councillors and local residents alike.  

The project was first discussed in 2003 and, at the time, Monchique Câmara, following an initial environmental impact study, approved the installation of the power lines through the Odelouca area, but away from any housing. However, the Environment Institute (IA), based on conclusions drawn from a second environmental impact study, did not approve the routing proposal, alleging that the site was too close to a Bonelli’s eagle nest that was found located close to the Ribeira de Monchique.

Following this, two new routes were proposed for the power lines, one of them similar to the first, but further away from the nest, the other crossing the Fornalha and Alferce villages. It was this proposal that led to protests by the local people and councillors.