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Environmental Defence group calls for a halt to East Algarve photovoltaic plant

ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE GROUP CALLS FOR A HALT TO EAST ALGARVE PHOTOVOLTAIC PLANTPró Barrocal Algarvio (PROBAAL) Group of Environmental Defence is calling for an end to the prospecting of 200 hectares of land to build a solar panel farm, which they believe will be harmful to the environment, destroying aquifers, fauna and flora.

The area concerned is between Tavira, São Bras de Alportel and Olhão counties. The prospecting began in September 2020. “We have been alerted to this possibility by the fact that Iberdrola did some exploratory ground works here in September and have since been offering contracts to rent land in the locality”, explained PROBAAL. Landowners in that region have also been approached, being asked to rent their land to the Iberdrola Company, to be used for the installation of solar panels.

PROBAAL feel that "the construction of a large photovoltaic plant in this location would adversely and irreversibly affect the fauna, flora and the Peral-Moncarapacho aquifer, on which it is located."

In a petition letter to be submitted to the President of the Assembly of the Republic, the environmental group states the following;

We ask that this land classified as a National Ecological Reserve be protected from irreversible damage through extensive deforestation.

We oppose the destruction of large areas of animal habitats or any removal of rare plants, protected trees and water courses.

This area is referred to as the "area of ​​maximum infiltration and recharge of aquifers" and is the natural rainwater capture and infiltration system that provides water to thousands of people and companies in the local community. We therefore request that the Peral-Moncarapacho aquifer be protected.

The Algarve is the Portuguese region with the lowest rainfall, and suffers from enormous pressure on aquifers. Tree communities create microclimates that encourage precipitation and because the reverse is true, removing hundreds of mature trees from the water catchment area is counterproductive and irresponsible.

It is expected that the Algarve will become drier in the coming years and we implore the agencies responsible for granting licenses for solar power stations, which do not approve the destruction of this ecological reserve accelerating the process of desertification.

Likewise, removing vegetation and cleaning rocks could increase the risk of flooding downstream and lose valuable fresh water to the sea instead of recharging the aquifer.

The amount of water available for boreholes, used for domestic consumption and agricultural activity, is at risk of being equally compromised.

Finally, we affirm the rights of residents to live without visual impacts and the rights of the community in general that has been using this space for generations.

We therefore respectfully request;

1. An appropriate public consultation process on the appropriate location for the implementation of a photovoltaic project of this magnitude.

2. An environmental impact study at this location, in the four seasons of the year and corresponding to the life cycle, including a hydrological survey of hydraulic impacts.

3. An archaeological study to evaluate the potential archaeological remains of Roman and Islamic origin, as well as the paleochemic endocarsic formations (fossils), relevant sedimentary deposits and lithochemical formations of interest.

4. That the installation of any photovoltaic plant be carried out on land that has already been denatured, thus avoiding further destruction of areas already classified and protected.

Thank you very much.

A video of the area concerned, along with the petition letter, can be viewed online here.

If you would like to sign the petition, visit https://peticaopublica.com/psign.aspx?pi=PT108463
If you don’t know your BI No. / Citizen Card, just use:  00000000000

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