PLANS for three solar farms in the south of Alicante province next to the protected Sierra Escalona area have been rejected by the Ministry for Ecological Transition.

It’s a major victory for environmental groups who have campaigned against the proposed developments but the companies behind the projects have a month to challenge the decision in a submission to the Secretary of State for Energy.

Proposals were first submitted for the sites in 2020 but they have all be blocked due to ‘an unfavourable environmental impact report’.

The report noted that measures proposed by the companies to mitigate these damages are not sufficient nor do they constitute ‘a sufficient guarantee for the adequate protection of the environment’.

The three proposed sites would have covered 300 hectares of land in the Torremendo area and would have generated a total of 300 megawatts of power

The Ministry received 14 complaints about the plans from individuals and organisations.

Environmentalists like the Friends of Sierra Escalona argued that valuable farm and forest land would have been lost as well as a negative impact on the landscape and biodiversity.

The group added that there is ‘an unsustainable implementation of renewable energies’ in the Vega Baja region.

They also pointed to the potential uprooting of ‘thousands of almond trees and the clearing of woodland to the detriment of grazing land and causing damage to the feeding habitat of protected birds of prey like the eagle owl and the golden eagle’.

There are still nevertheless a further nine submissions for solar plants to be set up in Torremendo which the Ecological Transition Ministry has still to be approve, and over 20 more across the Vega Baja region as a whole.

A proposal for a 12,000 panel solar farm adjoining Torrevieja’s La Mata lagoon was rejected by the Ministry in June.

The project would have been developed on eight hectares close to the Los Montesinos roundabout on the CV-95.

Conservation group, the Friends of the South Alicante Wetlands, warned the farm would be in the environmental impact buffer zone for La Mata and Torrevieja Natural Park lakes.

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