GREEN campaigners are rejoicing after plans to erect over 100 giant pylons were effectively sparked out this week in Andalucia.
In a shock win, they thanked the Olive Press for its year-long campaign to stop the ‘motorway of power lines’ through two iconic Granada valleys.
Our Fight the Power campaign, launched in March 2019, strongly opposed the long lines of pylons and a giant electricity substation in the Alpujarra and Lecrin Valley.
We were joined by celebrated writer Chris Stewart and pop star Dr Robert of the Blow Monkeys to oppose the ‘crazy abomination’.
The battle had erupted when locals unearthed energy giant Red Electrica’s state-funded plan to erect the 80m high structures, mostly on private land.
In the case of British expat Steve Holdup, 63, the REE scheme would have seen a pylon going up in his back garden.
Ironically, the tower and service road would have been installed right in the middle of the retired teacher’s own solar panel project.
Grassroots movement Di No a Los Torres (Say No to the Towers) was quick to argue the high voltage towers would have a ‘devastating effect’ on tourism, agriculture and health.
After probing the shady interests behind the project, we managed to get the story printed in the national newspapers in the UK.
Robert Howard, singer of the Blow Monkeys, who has a home in the Lecrin Valley, described the scheme as ‘ravaging’ for the region saying it would ‘have devastating consequences environmentally and economically’.
Driving Over Lemons writer Chris Stewart added it was ‘heedless destruction’ and showed private interests ‘riding roughshod over the will and rights of the people’.
Now the Junta has effectively ruled that REE cannot build its second substation which would connect the long lines of pylons across the region.
A subsequent appeal by the electrical giant has also been rejected, according to campaigners this week.
“It’s great news,” Teresa McKeon told the Olive Press. “Thank you so much for all your articles and the campaign you launched.
“We continue to work behind the scenes to try to safeguard the natural beauty of our landscape from this and other threats.”
McKeon explained that REE’s megaproject included two lines crossing the valley.
The first had been published in the BOJA in November 2017 and was subsequently approved by the Junta before locals were able to raise public awareness and fight it.
“Technically this line can still be constructed,” she explained, “However, there is no substation to connect to.
“So we continue to question the legality of a proposal which included a ‘fictitious’ substation, and of the Junta’s approval of such a project.”
Olive Press publisher Jon Clarke said last night: “This is amazing news and a great win for the environment.
“I’m proud that the Olive Press has been able to help achieve this victory, showing that the press still has relevance and can put pen to power. This is what a genuine people’s paper does.”
It comes after REE reportedly ignored prohibition orders slapped down by town halls in Orgiva and Lanjaron which were designed to prevent work starting back in July last year.
Councillors had issued the bans over ‘environmental fears’, but REE sent in diggers and dump trucks regardless, to begin preliminary groundwork.
Now, for the time being at least, the electrical giant will have to find somewhere else for its electrical pylons.