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Review call for Welsh Government's wind farm policy

Councillors in Powys are demanding an urgent review of the Welsh Government’s wind farm policy.

It follows protests against proposals for dozens of pylons and a 19-acre substation, which will connect wind turbines to the power network.

Seven areas across mid and south Wales, known as Tan 8, were chosen for wind farm development in 2005.

The Welsh Government said it had no current plans to review Tan 8.

Wind turbines have long faced criticism from some local people, but complaints have grown since plans were unveiled for the substation and pylons, some measuring 154ft (47m).

About 1,500 people gathered for a protest in Cardiff Bay last month, and were joined by four campaigners who had walked from Welshpool, Powys.

Powys council’s ruling administration, a coalition between Powys Independent Alliance and the Welsh Liberal Democrats, is pressing for a fresh look at all aspects of Tan 8, including the implications for transportation, the environment, health and construction.

It is also “insistent that power lines can and should be put underground”.

The administration’s secretary, Councillor Dawn Bailey said: “The Welsh Government must listen to what the general public and their elected representatives are saying, or risk a very real loss of trust in mid Wales.

“This is a beautiful part of the world, which attracts thousands of visitors each year.

“Concerns have been expressed that such extensive development, with all the associated visual intrusion and a construction and transport phase lasting many years, could threaten the economic livelihood of the area, as well as the wellbeing of residents and local businesses.”

The full council will debate calls for a Tan 8 review on 28 June.

A National Grid spokeswoman said: “We have not made a decision about what technology we will use [regarding power lines], whether it be underground, overground or a combination of both.

“That decision will not be made until the next phase of consultation. Once we have a preferred route we will have much more detail and we can discuss this with communities.”

She reminded people that first phase of the project’s public consultation ended on 20 June.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “There are no current plans to review Tan 8. Any issues relating to the consent for power lines is a matter for UK government, not Welsh ministers.”