By ELOISE WALTON
NOT ALL of the environmental impact caused by the project to erect electricity pylons across five Algarve counties to Andalucía in Spain can be eliminated, according to a study carried out by the Environment Ministry.
The main negative impact of the project, which the national electricity company, Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN) aims to have completed by 2010 (See The Resident, February 29), include pylons passing close to some houses in two environmentally sensitive areas, Caldeirão and Guadiana, in the Rede Natura 2000.
Other “unavoidable negative impacts” highlighted in the study include disruption from machinery and occupation of private land during the construction period.
The increased energy requirement for the Algarve region means that three separate branches of pylons will be erected. The first is entitled Tunes Norte, which includes Silves, Almodôvar, Loulé and Tavira counties, the second entitled Linha Tavira – Fronteira Espanhola will link Tavira to Spain, while the third is located entirely in the county of Tavira.
Also identified were two possible locations for the construction of the Tavira substation, one on agricultural land in Amoreira, near the town of the same name, and the other near the town of Cachopo in a pine forested area.
The study recommended the first location of Amoreira for the construction of the substation, which is around 450 metres from the town.
This is because the negative visual impact which will be caused as a result of the pylons on some properties in the surrounding area was not deemed severe enough compared with the negative effects on breeding pairs of the Bonelli’s eagle near Cachopo.
A provisional date for starting the initial phases of construction for the Tavira substation has been outlined in the study for July this year.
Included in the environmental impact study are extra measures to minimise the impact that the new electricity pylons will have on the surrounding environment and wildlife in general across the entire route.
These measures include placing special coils salva-pássaros on the high tension cables where the greatest number of collisions with birds occur, so that they are not electrocuted.
Other recommendations have also been made as a result of the study, including keeping the new pylons as far away as possible from trees and known breeding sites of the endangered Bonelli’s eagle as well as from urban areas, heritage monuments and water treatment plants among others.
This project which is currently under public discussion until April 4 can be viewed at the following Câmaras Silves, Loulé, Tavira, Castro Marim, Alcoutim in the Algarve and Almodôvar, in the Alentejo.
To read the full environmental impact study, please visit the website, available only in Portuguese, at www.apambiente.pt/IPAMB_DPP/publico/eia_rnt.asp?id=1276
Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected]