PROTESTS against proposed giant solar panel farms are gaining strength across the Costa del Sol with the latest demonstrations held in Coin, Castellar and Salinas, writes Elena Gocmen Rueda.

On Saturday residents took to the streets to mark World Environmental Day with a protest against a photovoltaic plant planned for the Guadalhorce valley.

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People protesting in Coin on Saturday. “No to a photovoltaic mega park

An area of 10,000,000 m2 or 1000 hectares across the Rio Grande Valley has been earmarked for solar panels which will affect the municipalities of  Coín, Alozaina, Casarabonela, Guaro, Monda, Ojen, Marbella, Alora, Cartama and Pizarra.

Critics argue that solar farms will destroy the biodiversity of steppes filled with flora and fauna in an area that also has huge importance for migratory birds and insist they aren’t against progress, just want to ensure it is carried out properly.

“The Rio Grande valley, at the foot of the Sierra de las Nieves National Park, is an essential area for a great number of animal and plant species, a passage area for birds from the Strait and an area of ??connection with nature for the neighbours of the valley and for Malaga in general,” said a spokesman for Asociación Valle Natural Río Grande, the environmental conservation organisation behind the Coin protest.

“The projects for the installation of industrial photovoltaic panels will leave the Rio Grande Natural Valley on the brink of disappearance and extinction,” the group says in a Change.Org petition that has collected close to 4,000 signatures from local residents.

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“It is one more sad symbol of a vibrant area of natural beauty threatened by the culture of speculation, whose main purpose is the enrichment of a few to the detriment of many,” they said.

Last month a protest against similar photovoltaic plans  for areas around Jimena and the Campo de Gibraltar took place in Castellar de la Frontera, where around 1,000 people marched behind a convoy of tractors.

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Recent plans were unveiled for solar parks across 2,400 hectares of the zone. 

All are marching under the slogan “Renewables yes, but not like this”.

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