EYESORE: Mockup image of planned pylons

EX-GENESIS drummer Chris Stewart has joined the fight against a ‘motorway’ of power lines planned for Andalucia’s iconic Alpujarras region.

The British author – whose Driving Over Lemons novel made the region famous – added his name to a growing collective of campaigning expats battling the proposal.

These include former 80s star Doctor Robert, from the Blow Monkeys, who lives in the nearby Lecrin Valley, which is also set to be badly affected by the project.

“Once again private financial interests are riding roughshod over the will and the rights of the people, leaving, as ever, a wake of heedless destruction,” Stewart told the Olive Press this week.

“One day the tide will turn and more reasonable, sustainable ways will prevail; but seemingly not yet; so… it’s back to the barricades again.”

OUTRAGED: Celebrity author of Driving Over Lemons, Chris Stewart

The outrage comes after it was revealed energy company Red Electrica de España (REE) plans to install a network of some 211 giant pylons across the two valleys.

While supposedly necessary to take electricity from Morocco to Europe, it is set to ruin the untouched beauty of the area, enjoyed by tens of thousands of nature lovers each year.

The Di No A Las Torres (Say No To The Towers) group argues high voltage towers would have a ‘devastating effect’ on tourism and agriculture, as well as health.

A petition has been launched, while a protest saw over a thousand people march near the village of Conchar on Sunday.

LEFT IN THE DARK: Expat couple Steve and Karen Holdup

BLACK OUT

A BRITISH expat couple are facing a ‘disaster’ after they learnt one of the ‘monstrous’ electricity masts (left) is to be built in their back garden.
Steve Holdup, 62, and wife Karen, 61, who live on a self sufficient farm near Orgiva, could ironically even lose their sole source of power from solar panels, which are in the way.
The retired teachers, who moved from Cumbria a decade ago, claim they have been kept in the dark by energy company REE, and only found out about the pylon from a friend.
Steve told the Olive Press: “From having a fantastic house we rebuilt from scratch ten years ago, we’ve ended up with a disaster.
“We put all of our life saving into it and now we face having to live with a 220 volt tower directly behind our home.”
If built, the tower and adjoining service road will cut right through their field of 13 solar panels.
“So somebody in Germany gets a load of electricity from Morocco as a result of putting a tower at the back of our house and we end up losing the little electricity we have for ourselves.” He added: “It has been done in the most chevalier fashion you could imagine.

OUT IN FORCE: Expats and locals march in protest against pylons

The protest, which included many expats and children, is the start of many to stop the scheme.

Blow Monkeys singer Robert Howard, who has lived in the Lecrin Valley for two decades, told the Olive Press: “The project to take these massive pylons across our valley is an abomination. It will have devastating consequences environmentally and economically.

“It’s a magical place, a ‘Vale Of Happiness’, as the Moors called it, a place of natural beauty and conservation.

“These giant pylons will scar the landscape, could destroy the local tourist businesses and ravage the environment.

JOINING THE FIGHT: Dr Robert from the Blow Monkeys

“There are no benefits at all for local people – we must fight to stop them.”
Ecotourism is vital to the region, which was nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2017, mainly for having some of the world’s oldest olive groves.

Some 245 businesses work in rural tourism and the valley – which is set to have 109 of the pylons – receives an estimated 8,000 visitors every weekend.
The figures for the Alpujarras, which will see pylons stretching all the way to the Almeria border, are certainly much higher.

Scottish expat Teresa McKeon, 49, who has been at the forefront of the campaign, told the Olive Press: “The whole place is going to be destroyed it is just awful… it really is awful.”

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