The results of a referendum held in the Swiss canton of Valais on September 10th show that most people in southern Switzerland are not in favor of the construction of large-scale solar farms in the famed Alps.
The referendum was meant to gauge public sentiment regarding several key economic and environmental issues in light of the worsening impact of climate change.
According to the official website of the Valais local government, nearly 54% of voters opted against a proposal that would have paved the way for the development of such facilities in the Swiss Alps.
Those who voted against the proposal pointed out that building solar farms on such a massive scale would put a distressing eyesore on the famed mountains. Instead, voters suggested that it would be better to increase the number of solar panels installed in urban areas, on both commercial and residential structures, as these would be closer to the places that use the bulk of electrical power.
For its part, the Valais chapter of the Swiss People’s Party remarked that the region already contributes a significant amount of power to the national grid thanks to a number of massive dams within the vicinity. In this case, it is not necessary to, in their words, deface the local environment further with another structural eyesore.
Representatives of the Party added that putting in solar farms would be more for the benefit of foreign operators and their Swiss counterparts, as opposed to the local population.
Meanwhile, the organizations that called for the referendum earlier this year also pointed out that the proposed plans did not include an impact assessment report on how the construction would affect wildlife and plant life in the region.
Instead, both Pro Natura and the Valais Green Party called on the government to take into consideration existing infrastructure that they deem more important to the people, particularly dam walls and avalanche barriers.