Expat conservationist voices grave concerns over massive power line installation in Albujarras

Published:  19 Aug at 6 PM
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Expats and local protestors are still fighting over a power company’s plans to erect 362 massive pylons in one of France’s most spectacular areas of natural beauty.

A local expat newspaper was the first to alert conservationists and nature-lovers to the threat of damage to the precious environment as well as to the protected species in the region. The paper’s ‘Fight the Power’ campaign recently attracted the attention of a British conservationist to the risks to wild life, especially bird species, should the installation in Andalucía go as planned.

British expat Nick Chambers, a lifelong expert conservationist, told the paper he fears Red Electrica, the power company installing the pylons, will likely cut wildlife protection measures simply to save money on the huge Alpujarras project. The Olive Press’s initial coverage of the plan had expats and locals alike up in arms about the devastating effect on the hills and valleys loved by generations of tourists as well as local and expat residents. One expat told the media a pylon is to be erected within metres of her property, adding she’s frightened about its effect on her health.

The paper has highlighted the threat of the power lines to more than 200 species, with over half being bird species and including the magnificent birds of prey common to the region. According to Chambers, who’s been involved in protecting many of the UK’s wetland environments against developers, the power company will provide an absolute minimum of protection simply to lower the cost of the massive installation, with monitoring their behaviour likely to be difficult.

Chambers has now joined up with environmental groups and Spanish conservationists to call on the authorities to crack down on energy companies who couldn’t care less about the environmental damage they’re causing. He told the Olive Press he’s sick of businesses abusing the precious natural systems he’s spent his life’s work attempting to protect.

In answer to growing public dissent, a representative of the power company told the press it’s using bird-flight diverters, thus increasing the power lines’ visibility and alerting birds to stay away from the lines. Hopefully, the Spanish government will take notice of the threat to one of its most spectacular regions, popular with tourists and expats alike, by ensuring all measures necessary to protect the areas’ wildlife, bird life, villages and individual properties are being put in place.
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