EXPATS and locals have joined forces to fight plans to prevent an idyllic green valley from being blighted by electricity pylons.
Up to 100 people took to the streets of Benahavis to protest the scheme that will mar a large swathe of countryside in Montemayor valley, before skirting the village.
Bearing banners, they marched through one of Spain’s most affluent pueblos and protested in front of the town hall.
The demonstration was organised by local platform No to the power lines in the Montemayor countryside, which has been campaigning for the electricity cables to be buried.
Despite a study showing underground cabling to be viable – and it being the preferred option of environmental groups – Red Electrica Española (REE) has decided to take the cheap option overground.
This means seven towering pylons and three kilometres of high tension cable going in.
Nearly 32,700m2 of Mediterranean forest will have to be felled for the project and the cables will pass close to Montemayor Castle, a designated Cultural Interest Asset.
“Every time I think about this I just think about all the history that is going down the drain,” said expat Peggie Collie, who has lived near Montemayor castle for nine years.
Caroline Lawton, a British resident in Benahavis since the Noughties, also expressed her contempt for the pylons and stated that the plan ‘must not’ go through.
Although many believe the aerial route was chosen for financial reasons, Benahavis council, which inherited the project from the previous administration, says the decision was actually made on ecological grounds:
“The impact of underground lines is more intense on the earth, since the magnitude of excavation is much greater than it is with aerial lines, and they would require an intensive use of heavy machinery,” Environment councillor Isabel Guerrero told The Olive Press.
A protest group, set up by expats in Granada, won a victory against a similar ‘damaging’ pylon scheme set to be installed by REE last year.
The Olive Press launched a Fight the Power campaign to help the Say No to the Towers group fight the high voltage route through the Lecrin and Alpujarras valleys.
We were joined by local celebrities including Dr Robert of the Blow Monkeys and writer Chris Stewart to oppose the project, which would have seen 100 giant pylons installed.