Expat celebrities join in Andalusian power line project protests

Published:  4 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: Spain, USA, Euro, Teach Abroad
Media attention generated by the Say No To The Towers group has resulted in expat celebrities joining in the protests.

Following last week’s report of a a plan to erect 2011 massive electricity pylons across one of Spain’s most spectacular beauty spots, the local protest group has been joined by the British author whose book Driving over Lemons helped make the valleys famous. The former Genesis drummer and writer Chris Stewart, is up in arms about the project and has added his name to the fast-growing list of objectors. Another famous Brit, former Blow Monkeys star singer Robert Howard, lives in the Lecrin Valley, one of the areas set to be worst affected by the development. The project is slated to spread across Andalucia’s stunning Alpujarras region, with protesters calling it a motorway of power lines.

In an interview with the Olive Press expat newspaper, Stewart described the plan as ‘private financial interests riding roughshod over the rights and will of the people’. He added that a wave of heedless devastation was sure to follow, leading to the ruin of one of Spain’s natural glories, its agriculture and the health of all those living in the area. The project, proposed by Red Electrica de Espagna, is supposedly necessary for the transfer of electricity from Morocco to Europe and spans an entire area popular with many thousands of nature lovers and tourists. The protest group has launched a petition, whilst an initial protest held in the village of Conchar last Sunday attracted a thousand concerned local residents and expats. According to Howard, the Moorish conquerors of Spain over a thousand years ago called the valley the ‘Vale of Happiness’ and the name has been remembered through countless generations. He believes the project will have devastating economic and environmental consequences, especially as ecotourism plays a major part in the region’s economy.

One older British expat couple who’ve lived on their self-sufficient farm for 10 years after retiring from the teaching profession were horrified to find one of the pylons is to be built literally in their back garden. In an ironic twist, they’re likely to lose their one power source – their solar panels, as they’re in the way of the monstrous tower. After the couple arrived, they rebuilt their farmhouse from scratch using their life savings,, and claim they’ve been totally misinformed by the power company. Everyone affected is scared about the effect on their health of the high-voltage electricity, in spite of the World Health Organisation’s report that high-voltage power lines are relatively safe. The subject remains controversial, with research still ongoing, especially as regards negative effects on the nervous system.
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