Protesters are stepping up their campaign against plans to build hundreds of massive pylons in a scenic valley in Mid Wales.
More than 700 people have signed petitions against the plans by National Grid, which wants to route a 400,000-volt cable through the Powys countryside to connect 10 planned wind farms to the National Grid.
The cable would either use 46-metre high pylons or be routed underground and the project is expected to be completed by 2015.
Plans also include a power substation being built in either Abermule, near Newtown, or Cefn Coch, near Llanfair Caereinion in Powys, covering about 19 acres of rolling countryside.
Glyn Davies, Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, said he was so strongly opposed to the plans that he has organised a protest meeting at Welshpool Livestock Market on Wednesday, April 20 at 7pm.
“There have been a lot of concerns raised by the people of Montgomeryshire about these crazy plans,” he said.
“The new wind farms and substation cables would destroy the landscape of Mid Wales for no significant benefit whatsoever at a cost of literally millions or even billions of pounds, which is a huge waste of public money.
“National Grid maintains that there is no proof that pylons can cause any health problems, which is the most worrying aspect of the plan for many protesters.
“But there have been studies that suggest that they do contribute to child leukaemia and other forms of cancers.”
Mr Davies said he is hugely concerned about the sheer destruction of such a large area of such natural beauty.
“These pylons and onshore wind turbines are just follies, that show how Government can get things wrong,” he said.
“In 20 years’ time we will look back and wonder why they appeared at all, like we do now with the tower blocks of the 1960s.
“However, the placing of the pylons or cables and substations in Mid Wales is not a fait accompli.
“The responsibility for whether they do or don’t go up lies absolutely with the National Assembly members.
“They adopted in 2005 a policy which involved dumping wind farms over large swathes of Mid Wales, when they had no cable in place to take the power out [to the National Grid].
“Since they made that decision, which I was against from the start, more and more studies have shown how ineffective wind farms are at producing renewable energy.
“It is now up to the people of Mid Wales and me to put as much pressure on the Assembly as we can for it to have an urgent review of its technical advice on renewables.
“A new Tan 8 (Planning for Renewable Energy policy) will come out and when it does I would like it to abandon these plans.”
Mr Davies said if the project has to go ahead then the cables should definitely go underground and many protesters feel the same way.
But installing underground cables would cost hundreds of millions of pounds more than the £200m to £250m massive pylons, according to Andrew Lee, project manager for the National Grid.
Meanwhile a three-year study concluded that homes and schools should not be built next to power lines because of grave health risks to children.
The investigation published by Sage, a collective of academics and medical charities in 2007, concluded that childhood leukaemia is the biggest threat for families living near power lines.
The report cited a list of other linked illnesses and conditions including breast and brain cancer, miscarriage and Alzheimer’s disease.
And a two-year study, based in Scotland, by wild land conservation charity the John Muir Trust, concluded on Monday that many wind farms were operating at just 10% of their capacity for a third of the time.
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