May 20, 2011

Four men walk to Cardiff in Powys power plan protest

BBC News, 19 May 2011

Protesters are stepping up their campaign against plans for a large substation and pylons in mid Wales by walking to Cardiff.

Nick Larder, Ifan Davies, Oili Hedman and local journalist Richard Jones are trekking 112 miles (180km) from Welshpool to the capital.

The substation and pylon plans have attracted strong opposition.

The National Grid, which is behind the substation, has said the electricity infrastructure needs upgrading.

The four will arrive in Cardiff next Tuesday, when another protest is planned outside the Senedd.

About 2,000 people are expected to make the journey from mid Wales to Cardiff Bay to join the four men.

Agricultural contractor Ifan Davies said: “The walk is a protest against plans for the pylons, substation and wind turbines.

“I hope the walk raises awareness of the impact of wind turbines.”

Wind farms have long faced criticism from some local people, but complaints have grown since plans were unveiled for a 19-acre substation and pylons.

They are intended to serve between 600 and 800 wind turbines, which Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies claims are earmarked for his north Powys constituency.

Last week Mr Davies said the proposals would “totally destroy” the area.

Richard Jones is chief reporter for the County Times, which is running a campaign against the pylons and the substation plans. He said: “This is a huge issue for mid Wales and not just a story for a newspaper.

“I really do urge people to turn out in their droves and show Cardiff politicians the strength of feeling in Montgomeryshire.”

The National Grid is planning a substation in either Abermule, near Newtown, or Cefn Coch, near Llanfair Caereinion.

Pylons, some measuring 154ft (47m) and spanning 26 miles (42km), are also planned.

The Welsh Government said last week it recognised that balance had to be struck between the environmental and economic advantages and disadvantages of windfarm developments.

Its aim throughout “has been to preserve the landscape and environment of Wales and to prevent the proliferation of large on-shore wind farms in an ad hoc manner”.

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