Is the Decision to Give the Solar Plant the Green Light a Good One for the Algarve

Solar plants - Algarve

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The Algarve continues to be a popular place for people to spend their holidays, and for some they have turned their dream into reality and bought property. As with all locations, you need to be aware of what is likely to be built in the future. This has proven to be an issue as the residents of Fonte da Apra area of Loulé are distraught over the plans for the building of an imposing solar plant.

The two phase plant is causing immense debate, and since the planners and builders have been given the green light to finish the plant, there has been much outcry. The residents in the local area claim that the value of their properties has plummeted. With so many emotions and strong words being said, the local residents have vowed to take their case to Brussels to have the building work stopped.

The regional development and coordination committee believe that this plant is beneficial to the Algarve. A spokesperson from Loulé council spent time explaining the plant, what it would involve and how it would be built. The main site in Apra would be divided into two parts, which would include a Six megawatt farm, and a smaller four megawatt farm.

The smaller farm was subjected to more evaluations including an environmental impact study due to the location. As this site was connected to the local electricity grid, and will run through a Natural Ecological Reserve, many evaluations had to be conducted. This evaluation was conducted by the experts on the Algarve Committee for Regional Development and Coordination board.

There have been concerns voiced regarding the overall compatibility of the Loulé’s land plan and the complete project. However, the President of CCDR has confirmed in a press statement to the Portugal News that the committee in charge of the Regional Development and Coordination has provided its approval to the solar plant.

This decision has many measures which need to be implemented and work will not go ahead until several things are provided. This includes gathering authorizations, opinions and licenses which are necessary to ensure the build is legal. Experts will be consulted, and many conditions drawn up to ensure that everyone is covered.

Other project consultancy companies have also decided to conduct their own environmental impact study into the 4MW plans. Matos, Fonseca & Associates who are a Cascais based company carried out a study between February and April 2012. This extensive study proved several things including that from a territorial-ordaining opinion, the plant is not compatible with Loulé’s land plans.

The studies also discovered that the land that was intended for the use for the 4MW plant was not protected by any status of a Special Protection Zone. However, there were several faunas of interest, which did need to be considered. Apart from the fauna it was also proven that a majority of species who lived in the area were not threatened.

Throughout the studies, there were over 18 different species of vertebrae found, one lonesome reptile, two mammals and 15 birds. According to the International and national legislation, these were of conservation interest. One bird in particular, the Common Thrush needed to be highlighted as a near threatened species.

The study did show that overall the negative impact to the area and the animals residing there would be minimal and insignificant. Any disruption that was caused would be done within the construction stage, and this was minimal. Any impact on the landscape was of little significance and had no bearing on the decision.

Frustrated local residents feel entirely different on the subject, and have continued to argue that the construction companies are damaging the countryside. They feel that the plant is appalling and that it needs to be stopped immediately. There is residents of all nationalities in the area, including a British couple who have spoken out about the affect the plant will have on their life.

The couple purchased and hillside property they currently live in to enjoy the unspoilt views, however, with the plant due to be built this will change. The valley was once considered an area of outstanding beauty, but this is no longer the case. There is an enormous array of anger as local residents continue to be kept in the dark about the work.

The 6MW plant appears to have taken shape before the 4MW farm, which is not what was agreed, and this is causing distress to the local people. A spokesperson for the construction company has explained that due to the fact that the 6MW plant does not affect any REN zone, work can begin. This plant is far easier to build and is not subject to the same regulations.

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