By: Natasha Smith
SINCE ELECTRICITY giant, REN, announced that it would not change the planned route to erect pylons through Vale Fuzeiros, Silves, residents have hired legal representation and are preparing for a David vs Goliath showdown.
Following a meeting at Silves Câmara on April 26, REN representative, Henrique Gomes, said the project to erect pylons through the area, which will link Tunes and Portimão power stations, did not encounter any opposition during the environmental impact study, before the project was approved.
However, local resident, Norman Whittle, said that the reason there was no opposition was because locals were not informed of the plans until after it had been approved by the câmara.
The local juntas de freguesia say that they were also kept in the dark and are infuriated with the câmara for approving a project, citing that the project is detrimental to the local community and landscape.
According to residents, the câmara has known about the project for almost a year even though Silves Câmara President, Isabel Soares, has said that the câmara was also informed about the project at a late stage.
Residents say that they would be much happier if REN placed the electrical cables underground, which would not destroy the landscape and views. Norman Whittle said: “I would have no problem with them being underground, as long as I would not have to wake up every day and see the ugly metal structures,” some of which are due to be erected on the resident’s private land.
In an interview with Isabel Soares (see April 20 edition), she told The Resident that she did “not believe the pylons will be installed in that area”. She added that if REN refused, “the câmara will embargo the works, this is within our power”. Whittle said: “Any statements made by Silves Câmara about stopping the project are, as far as we know, totally unfounded.”
A special meeting was due to take place at Silves Câmara on Wednesday (May 9), where members of the câmara, juntas de freguesia and the opposition party were invited to discuss REN’s pylon project. Residents planned to hold a protest outside the building.
The Resident made several attempts to contact Isabel Soares but, at the time of going to press, she had offered no comment.
Residents are preparing for the fight of their lives and have said that they will take this case to the Portuguese courts. If this does not resolve the issue, they will go to the European court.
A well managed fund to pay for legal fees has been launched and is growing rapidly. However, a great deal of money is needed to fight REN. For more information on donations or fundraising events, email [email protected] or call 282 332 899.
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