By: ELOISE WALTON
NATIONAL ELECTRICITY company REN has rejected three proposals put forward by local residents in reaction to the company’s plans for a series of pylons between Tunes and Portimão.
The refusal came at a meeting on Tuesday at Silves Câmara attended by representatives from REN, including a top administrator and two key engineers, the local government and the group of residents affected by the plans.
The residents’ representatives argued that the area where REN want to set up a series of pylons linking substations in Tunes and Portimão would negatively affect archaeological sites and the natural beauty and
tranquility of the area.
They also reiterated that they were not against development, or REN itself, and are fully aware that electricity is in ever greater demand in the region.
Isabel Soares, President of Silves Câmara, summed up the residents’ requests and asked REN’s representatives to accept three key terms that would “put the local population at ease” and be a step in the right direction for a solution for everyone. These were that REN considers the possibility of altering the path of the pylons to a new route proposed by the residents, that REN asks the national health authority for a declaration to say that the pylons are not a health risk for the residents and finally that REN suspends the work until a meeting has been had between all those present and the environmental minister and the Portuguese environmental agency.
REN’s representatives agreed that they would attend the meetings organised by Silves Câmara with the environmental minister but categorically refused to suspend the work currently taking place, as well as the request for the health declaration.
One of its representatives said: “It is absurd for REN to ask for such a declaration because we know that there is no health issue, but if the residents want it, then they, or the council, should apply for it.”
After the meeting, local residents were in agreement that REN is now powerless to act without the Minister of the Environment’s approval.
One person, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We won’t protest today as it’s obvious REN can’t do anything, but if the Minister of the Environment does not rule in favour of our cause, then we will have no choice but to move onto the next phase of our plan.”
When asked what this was, the resident said: “We have briefed a top lawyer on the entire situation and he is waiting for our go-ahead to begin a case against REN.”
A Vale Fuzeiros resident told The Resident that they were all pleased that Isabel Soares is throwing her full support behind them. He said: “Isabel Soares and her team are now actively involved with our cause and will push it to the highest level within the government that they can.”
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