Pylon route changed, announces REN

RESIDENTS OF Vale Fuzeiros could breathe a sigh of relief as electricity company REN announced it was to alter its planned pylon route through Silves, following a decision from the Secretary of State for the Environment, Humberto Rosa.

Rosa has authorised a change in the route in order to protect archaeological sites in Vale Fuzeiros. In a press release, REN’s Director, Artur Lourenço, said: “I have been made aware today (Tuesday) of a decision from the Secretary of State for the Environment agreeing a new route”, away from “where archaeological artefacts were recently uncovered”.

The president of REN, José Penedos, said that the route would be moved to the north of Vale Fuzeiros to the Cabeço area.

The planned pylon route will connect the Tunes and Portimão power stations, and reinforce the electricity supply in the western Algarve. The original route was due to affect around 300 residents in the area, who complained to Silves Câmara, citing the potential health risks and damage both to the landscape and tourism if REN erected pylons.

It is believed that the route proposed by the residents has been the one accepted by the Secretary of State for the Environment but, at the time of going to press, the câmara had not received official confirmation of the exact course of the revised route.

Rosa said that the new route, north of Vale Fuzeiros, could potentially affect habitats of the Bonelli’s Eagle and the Iberian lynx project (see facing page) but said that measures will be drawn up to minimise the impact. An environmental impact study is due to begin soon.

Vale Fuzeiros resident, Ivor Jones, said: “Whatever happens, we will still fight for the rights of Casa Queimada and Bica”, adding that if the route chosen is the one which they designed, he would be “delighted”.

Despite the announcement from REN, residents said they would still go ahead with a planned protest on Wednesday outside the Parliament and the home of the Prime Minister.

People from across the country, who were also protesting against planned pylon routes in their areas, took part in a demonstration on Tuesday outside the São Bento Palace in Lisbon.

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