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The much-awaited route for the distribution line proposal by Green Gen Cymru, Bute Energy, from the Radnor Forest to a point in Carmarthenshire has finally been announced today as part of the energy group's eight-week consultation for what they call the "Towy Usk" project.
In recent weeks we have seen hundreds of people gather at meetings hosted and chaired by the Countryside Alliance, from Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire to Builth Wells in Powys. At these meetings, the public voice has been strong in support of putting the cables underground rather than distributing energy through what is deemed to be "hideous, out-of-date steel pylons". Local residents and businesses fear the pylons will blight the landscape and diminish the rural tourism sector. To date, four steering groups have been created in Llanarthne, Llandeilo, Llandovery and Builth Wells opposing the use of pylons and calling for the cables to be buried.
The project will link Bute Energy's proposed Nant Mithil Energy Park, which could generate around 237MW of green energy in the Radnor Forest area, to the National Grid. However, the planning application for "Nant Mithil" hasn't even been submitted as yet, and neither has the application of a meteorological mast assessing the suitability of the area for wind generation. Rachel Evans, Director for Wales, recently challenged Bute at the Plaid Cymru Conference about the missing application for Nant Mithil and their urgency to try and recruit landowners for the distribution line. Bute Energy claimed that "when they get planning" (for Nant Mithil,) they want the line to be ready to go. This all seems a little confident and one can only wonder from where this presumption of a successful planning application has come from.
New overhead lines of 132kV associated with a devolved generation station are classed as a Development of National Significance (DNS) in Wales. This means that developers must submit consent applications to Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW), and decisions are made by Welsh Ministers.
In this first round of consultation, Bute Energy would like people's views on their preferred overhead line route, and anything else you would like them to consider when planning where the pylons should go. The company are also asking for suggestions for delivering a Community Benefit Fund to communities on the route. Following this round of public consultation, all feedback received will be carefully considered, along with reports from environmental and technical surveys, ahead of further public consultation.
The Countryside Alliance will be preparing a submission that our members and supporters can access over the coming days. Please ensure you are signed up to Dragon's Tale here to be kept informed.
You can find out more, and get your questions answered at one of the public exhibitions:
- Thursday 23 March, 2pm to 7.30pm Montgomery Pavilion, Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells LD2 3SY
- Saturday 25 March, 11am to 4pm Llandeilo Fawr Civic Hall, 17 Crescent Road, Llandeilo SA19 6HW
- Tuesday 28 March, 2pm to 7.30pm Penybont District Community Centre, Penybont, nr Llandrindod Wells LD1 5UA
- Wednesday 29 March, 2pm to 7.30pm Llandovery Rugby Club, Church Bank, , Llandovery SA20 0BA
- Thursday 30 March, 2pm to 7.30pm Llandyfaelog Community Hall, Carmarthenshire SA17 5PA
Online webinars will also be held. To find out more, click here.
Image credit: Green Gen Cymru, Bute Energy