Silves: Foral residents file legal action against 96-hectare solar park

Association reveals that it is «deeply concerned about the project's ecological footprint and the lack of community involvement»

The Residents' Association of Larga Vista, Foral, in Silves, took a stance against the 96-hectare solar park proposed by NEOEN and filed a legal action with the Court of Loulé on January 10th. 

Despite claiming to be supporters of renewable energy, the associates are "deeply" concerned "with the project's ecological footprint and the lack of community involvement", defending, with this position, "both environmental integrity and the rights of the community ».

According to residents, the solar park, which occupies around 96 hectares of native vegetation, will include 102.399 solar panels, eight transformers, a substation and five kilometers of high voltage overhead lines.

“This massive project is positioned alarmingly close to residential areas, just 20 meters in some locations, and is on top of critical groundwater resources. The area itself is classified as a strategic area for infiltration, protection and recharge of water in the aquifer system and is located on land designated as REN (National Ecological Reserve)», says the association.

Although the Algarve Regional Development Coordination Committee (CCDR) conditionally approved the project, residents are concerned about the landscape and vegetation, «proximity to housing», soil compaction, which, as they say, «will represent a threat significant recharge of the Querença-Silves aquifer system, already in a stressful situation, vital for the local water supply", "construction of 5 km of high voltage overhead power lines to connect Tunes, crossing rural areas designated as RAN (Reserve National Agricultural Agency)” and “other environmental issues” such as “the need for water to clean solar panels, the loss of biodiversity, bird mortality due to the lake effect of the panels, soil contamination, the potential increase in local temperatures and possible impacts on the health of nearby residents».

In a statement sent to newsrooms, the Larga Vista Residents' Association says that «one of the main grounds for the legal action is the lack of an Environmental Impact Study (EIA) before the authorities granted the license».

«Only one Environmental Incidence Study (EIncA) was carried out, which did not address in detail the impact of the project on any of the fundamental concerns listed above», point out the residents, who, to finance the legal action, decided to resort to a Crowdfunding.

«Taking inspiration from the recent successful campaign against a similar project near Estoi», the community reveals that it is «hopeful and determined».