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Major threat to top birding site in Extremadura

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Offline Clive

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« on: October 10, 2008, 13:02 PM »
Hi all, :sign:

Another unsustainable and potentially wildlife damaging project that needs some attention... It is important to note that the problem here is not the new technology itself for energy production but the poorly researched situation of the proposed plan.... (The same problem as wind turbine siteing really) (Thanks to Martin kelsey of Birding Extremadura for bringing this to everbody's attention. His introduction letter and the sample letters of complaint plus recipient email addresses are below.....

"it is very important that this message gets to as many people as possible who have had the opportunity to enjoy watching birds at the site known as Casas del Hito, in the ricefields of Extremadura, close to the town of Madrigalejo.

This wonderful area is threatened by a huge solar thermal generation plant, where heat from solar panels will be used to generate electricity, involving major infrastructure including cooling towers, gas combustion and high tension power lines. There are many other more suitable sites for such development, where the sunshine is the same, but where the impact on wildlife will be much less.

Those of you who have visited Casas del Hito in winter will have seen one ofthe finest bird spectacles in Europe: last winter's roost of cranes totalled more than 11,300 birds (that's 5% of the Western European population and the second largest winter roost in Spain). It has a large harrier roost and winter flocks of Little Bustard. In passage, I have recorded 27 wader species (a remarkable total for an inland site in central Spain), and it is a regular stopover for Glossy Ibis.
Breeding birds include Black-winged Kite (I have recorded 20 species of raptor there) and Extremadura's first Kentish Plovers.

It is without doubt one of Extremadura's top sites both for conservation as well as birdwatching.
The decision to go approve the plan will be made by the Consejería de Industria,Energía y Medio Ambiente (Council for Industry, Energy and the Environment) of the government of Extremadura. I attach examples of letters that can be sent to...

The head of the Extremadura government (Presidente de la Junta de Extremadura),
The Counsellor for Industry, Energy and Environment.

There is also an example of a letter that can be sent to the Counsellor for Culture and Tourism
which emphasises the birding tourism value of this site.

These letters are examples, and you can modify them as you wish. Some of you I know have got some wonderful photos of birds from Casas del Hito, and they couldeven be included.

If you want to support this campaign, please send these letters as soon as possible. They can either be mailed (each letter has the address) or sent by email using the email addresses below.

Presidente de la Junta de Extremadura: presidente@prs.juntaex.es
Consejero de Industria, Energía y Medio Ambiente: consejero.iema@juntaextremadura.net
Consejera de Cultura y Turismo: consejera.cyt@juntaextremadura.net

Your support will demonstrate international concern for the future of conservation in Extremadura and is very important.=


EXAMPLE ONE

D. José Luis Navarro Ribera
Consejero de Industria, Energía y Medio Ambiente
Junta de Extremadura
Paseo de Roma, s/n
06800 Mérida (Badajoz)
Spain

Dear Sr. Navarro:

The purpose of this letter is to express my profound concern for the future of one of the most important sites for migratory and wintering birds in Extremadura: the area around the Sierra Brava reservoir and the estate known as Casas del Hito, in the municipality of Madrigalejo in the province of Cáceres.

I have recently learnt that permission has been requested for the construction of two solar thermal power plants, each of 50 hectares area, in adjacent plots, situated in the Casas del Hito estate, with an electricity substation and a high-tension pylon line of up to 47 kms. All of this will seriously affect the two Special Protection Areas for birds in the area:  “Llanos de Zorita y Embalse de Sierra Brava” and “Vegas del Ruecas, Cubilar y Moheda Alta”.

These areas, now under treat by this proposal, represent one of the most important zones for birds in Extremadura, attracting numerous visitors from all over the World, coming to watch birds there. There are few places where this sort of development could cause so much damage. It would be unforgiveable for this to proceed when there are available many hundreds of more suitable sites, each receiving the same amount of sunlight.
 
Given my personal knowledge of this site, I consider its ornithological importance to be very seriously under treat and I wish to register my opposition to the construction of these solar thermal power plants. I urge you to take into account the outstanding ornithological and conservation value of this area and that the Consejería de Industria, Energía y Medio Ambiente does not approve the proposal for these power plants.

Yours sincerely,

Copia al Excmo. Sr. Presidente de la Junta de Extremadura
Copia a la Consejería de Cultura y Turismo


EXAMPLE TWO

Dña. Leonor Flores Rabazo
Consejera de Cultura y Turismo
Junta de Extremadura
C/ Almendralejo, 14
06800 Mérida (Badajoz)
Spain

Dear Sra. Flores:

The purpose of this letter is to express my profound concern for the future of one of the most important sites for migratory and wintering birds in Extremadura: the area around the Sierra Brava reservoir and the estate known as Casas del Hito, in the municipality of Madrigalejo in the province of Cáceres.

I have recently learnt that permission has been requested for the construction of two solar thermal power plants, each of 50 hectares area, in adjacent plots, situated in the Casas del Hito estate, with an electricity substation and a high-tension pylon line of up to 47 kms. All of this will seriously affect the two Special Protection Areas for birds in the area:  “Llanos de Zorita y Embalse de Sierra Brava” and “Vegas del Ruecas, Cubilar y Moheda Alta”.

These areas, now under treat by this proposal, represent one of the most important zones for bird tourism in Extremadura, attracting numerous visitors from all over the World, coming to watch birds there. There are few places where this sort of development could cause so much damage. It would be unforgiveable for this to proceed when there are available many hundreds of more suitable sites, each receiving the same amount of sunlight.

Given my personal knowledge of this site, I consider its ornithological importance to be very seriously under treat and I wish to register my opposition to the construction of these solar thermal power plants. I urge you to take into account the outstanding value of this area for bird tourism and that the Consejería de Industria, Energía y Medio Ambiente does not approve the proposal for these power plants.

Yours sincerely

Copia al Excmo. Sr. Presidente de la Junta de Extremadura
Copia a la Consejería de Industria, Energía y Medio Ambiente


EXAMPLE THREE

Excmo. Sr. D. Guillermo Fernández Vara
Presidente de la Junta de Extremadura
Plaza del Rastro, s/n
06800 Mérida (Badajoz)
Spain

Dear Sr. Fernández Vara:

The purpose of this letter is to express my profound concern for the future of one of the most important sites for migratory and wintering birds in Extremadura: the area around the Sierra Brava reservoir and the estate known as Casas del Hito, in the municipality of Madrigalejo in the province of Cáceres.

I have recently learnt that permission has been requested for the construction of two solar thermal power plants, each of 50 hectares area, in adjacent plots, situated in the Casas del Hito estate, with an electricity substation and a high-tension pylon line of up to 47 kms. All of this will seriously affect the two Special Protection Areas for birds in the area:  “Llanos de Zorita y Embalse de Sierra Brava” and “Vegas del Ruecas, Cubilar y Moheda Alta”.

These areas, now under treat by this proposal, represent one of the most important zones for bird tourism in Extremadura, attracting numerous visitors from all over the World, coming to watch birds there. There are few places where this sort of development could cause so much damage. It would be unforgiveable for this to proceed when there are available many hundreds of more suitable sites, each receiving the same amount of sunlight.

Given my personal knowledge of this site, I consider its ornithological importance to be very seriously under treat and I wish to register my opposition to the construction of these solar thermal power plants. I urge you to take into account the outstanding environmental value of this area and its importance for bird tourism and that the Consejería de Industria, Energía y Medio Ambiente does not approve the proposal for these power plants.

Yours sincerely


Copia a la Consejería de Industria, Energía y Medio Ambiente
Copia a la Consejería de Cultura y Turismo
« Last Edit: October 10, 2008, 13:04 PM by Clive »
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PeterJ

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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2008, 20:49 PM »
I had emailed responses as requested and received one reply so far!

Quote"Estimado Sr. Jones:
 
Le he dado traslado de sus alegaciones a la Dirección General de Evaluación y Calidad Ambiental, para que sean incorporadas al procedimiento de evaluación de impacto ambiental de las dos plantas termosolares.
 
Saludos cordiales,
 
 
José Luis Navarro Ribera"

Peter
www.spanishbirds.com

Offline Clive

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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2008, 21:02 PM »
Hi Peter and all

Thanks for posting this on the other bird forums..... Good to get the message around....

Just to stress... This plan is not a "bad plan" It is a misguided plan with regards to the geographic location....

I would like to see any alternative suggestions for the situation of a project like this.... Maybe just 50 Kilometres in any direction would have a much smaller impact to Wildlife.....

Why was the plan formulated with a view to situate it in this area?

Has any organisation made a counter project plan so that it could go ahead in another area?

Anyone got the information or web links to further information?

« Last Edit: October 11, 2008, 21:06 PM by Clive »
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Offline nick

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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2008, 21:09 PM »
I'll post this on the iberianature site too
Nick
http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
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Offline Steve West

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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2008, 14:16 PM »
I've just e-mailed the 3 letters - better late than never I suppose.

As with many other things (especially windfarms, solar farms, etc.) the idea in itself may be a good one and may be seen as a step forward in terms of renewable energy supplies, but why the heck can they not get the location right?

Birds and Birding Tours in north-east Spain
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Offline Aegithalos

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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2008, 10:50 AM »
Hello. In the following link you'll find information about the conservation action  ¡AYUDANOS A SALVAR SIERRA BRAVA! of SEO/Birdllife

http://www.seo.org/programa_seccion_ficha.cfm?idPrograma=15&idArticulo=2034

The area around Sierra Brava Reservoir and Casas de Hitos, on of the most important wintering area for cranes, waterfowl and steppe birds in Extremadura, is being threatened by the construction of enormous thermosolar power stations. This stations will occupy more than 300 hectares, and imply a gas combustion unit with large evacuation chimneys and refrigeration towers.
The stations will share an electric substation and a high voltage power line of more than 38km.

How can you help? SEO includes some model letters to send to the authorities. Please participate as soon as possible (best before 24 October) in order to influence in the decision making process.

Thank you very much

Anna Gallés

Offline Aegithalos

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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2008, 16:10 PM »
I have sent letters to the three of them, both by post and email, but I have not received any answer yet. I hope this project doesn't go on!

 

Offline nick

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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2008, 20:25 PM »
Nick
http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
Spanish Civil War Tours in Barcelona
http://www.iberianature.com/
A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, & nature of Spain
The Amazon/Forum Bookshop - lend us a hand
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/shop/index.htm
And also now The Natural History of Britain
http://iberianature.com/brita