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Petition started against solar power farm in Guadalhorce valley

The affected area of the Río Grande with the Sierra de las Nieves behind.
The affected area of the Río Grande with the Sierra de las Nieves behind. / SUR
  • Green group Ecologistas en Acción and residents near the Río Grande want to stop the panels going up on two million square metres of countryside

Environmental campaigning group Ecologistas en Acción and locals in Coín have started a campaign to stop the building of a solar power farm by the nearby Río Grande. The river is a tributary of the Río Guadalhorce and its banks are one of the most important natural spaces in Coín municipality. The area is very close to the future Sierra de las Nieves National Park.

A petition has been set up on website Change.org aimed at the Junta de Andalucía government and local town halls, including Coín, Guaro, Monda, Alozaina and Ojén. On Friday this week it had almost 600 signatures.

"It's happened very quickly. We found out a few days before the end of the statutory objection period and we've tried to pull together all the information we can on the project to tell people about it," said the group behind the petition.

Ecologistas en Acción said that investors backing the energy plan "want to expand over an area of two million square metres, in a space that is key to the wildlife of the area".

They added that the photovoltaic plant, with solar panels to generate power, would mean big changes to the area, including fencing in and fewer olive groves and fruit trees, as well as changes in air currents that will stop birds flying low. They also say surface water and soil could be affected or polluted.

Ecologistas en Acción added that the scheme did not meet the needs of locals.