By: ELOISE WALTON
NATIONAL ELECTRICITY company REN has again rejected residents’ pleas to change the route of pylons it is erecting between Tunes and Portimão.
The news came at a meeting at Silves Câmara on Friday and has prompted the Silves residents to consider taking the case to Brussels.
“REN is yet again being uncompromising and has refused to stop the installation of the pylons”, said Sergio Santos, a representative of the local residents who are against the pylon’s route.
“There is a distinct lack of will to resolve the problem. REN comes up with excuses that suits it and uses environmental constraints to save money.”
Henrique Gomes, a representative for REN, denied that the situation had become a pushing and shoving game and said that REN has tried to explain its position without causing arguments.
“We are going to optimise the pylon’s route in Vale Fuzeiros, after a decision from the Environmental Secretary of State”, he said, adding: “This decision does not satisfy all of the residents’ aims, but REN does not believe at this moment that there is any alternative.”
Environmental licensing and not the extra cost was given as the main reason for REN not opting for the northern route for the pylons.
“There are conflicts with environmental projects such as the introduction of the Iberian lynx in the area, the preservation of the Bonelli’s Eagle and other nature projects,” said Henrique Gomes.
REN’s representative also said that if the government gives the green light, REN will propose an alternative route and go back but added that it would take a miracle for this to happen.
Isabel Soares, President of Silves Câmara, said that she lamented the absence of the Environmental and Economic Secretaries of State as well as representatives from the water institute, the Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional, the commission for regional development and the natural conservation institute who were essential to resolving the problem.
The next meeting is due to take place on November 26 at the Associação de Municípios in Lisbon.
The residents who are opposed to the route that has been chosen for the pylons to be erected reiterated that they were not against the development, or REN itself, and are fully aware that electricity is in ever greater demand in the region.
One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “If the Portuguese government does not accept to change the route of the pylons so that it does not negatively affect the residents, we will take our case to Brussels. We are determined to see this through to the end.”
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