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Powys substation plan ‘shameful’ says CPRW

A rural action group claims plans for a 19-acre electricity substation are “a shameful and depressing epilogue for mid Wales’ landscapes”.

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) said feelings over the Powys plans were at “boiling point”.

The National Grid says the substation must service planned new wind farms and it has identified two potential sites.

People should visit one of its 48 exhibitions, it said.

The two sites that have been put forward – at Abermule, near Newtown, and Cefn Coch, near Llanfair Caereinion.

There have been several public meetings and protests against the substation and plans for a network of pylons to support high voltage transmission lines.

Hundreds of people are expected at a meeting at Welshpool Livestock Market on Wednesday at 1900 BST.

As well as the substation, campaigners claim that pylons, some measuring 154 ft (47m) and others standing at 85ft (26m), will blight mid Wales’ rural landscape.

CPRW director Peter Ogden said: “We warned everyone more than five years ago that this would happen, when the assembly government cherry-picked massive areas of mid Wales uplands and proposed they were ripe for wind farm development.

“These substation and power line proposals potentially represent a shameful and depressing epilogue for mid Wales’ landscapes and the death knell scenes of the Welsh Assembly Government’s disgraceful and short-sighted onshore wind theatrical comedy of errors.

“Apart from the farce of the assembly finally realising that they put the renewable energy cart before the horse, giving consent to a procession of massive pylons and high voltage power lines will probably trump even the impact of wind farms as being the most despised scars on this landscape.”

Mr Ogden claimed that people’s feelings were “reaching boiling point”.

A National Grid spokeswoman said: “There are plans to build three wind farms in Powys and we have got to collect the energy that they produce. That means building a substation.

“We are about two thirds of the way through our public exhibitions and we are getting a very good turn out at most of them.

Renewable sources

“What we are trying to find is a solution that best suits most people but we do have to build the substation if the wind farms are going ahead.”

She said the company had no preference over which of the sites it was built on and was “genuinely trying to gather feedback and opinion.”

The assembly government said it was unable to comment because of the Welsh assembly pre-election period.

But last October it said that Wales exceeded a target to increase the amount of electricity from renewable sources to 10% by 2010, and produces about 13%.

Feeder lines built by ScottishPower will carry the power to the substation, and a 400,000 volt (400 kV) cable will take the electricity to national transmission system in Shropshire.