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Welsh Government responds to rural windfarm protests

The Welsh Government has announced measures intended to limit windfarm developments in mid Wales.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said planning guidelines on the number of windfarms should in future be regarded by local councils as an upper limit.

The Welsh Government wants the UK government to devolve powers over large-scale energy generation projects.

Hundreds of people protested against electricity and wind energy plans in mid Wales outside the Senedd in May.

Politicians from the four main parties, including Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies, addressed crowds on the steps of the building.

Dozens of pylons, some measuring 154ft (47m), and a substation are earmarked to connect with about 10 wind farms.

Seven areas of mid and south Wales were chosen for the development of windfarms under a policy known as Tan 8 in 2005.

But the Welsh Government says the number of applications and declarations of interest from developers are higher than anticipated, leading to proposals for major overhead grid infrastructure.

‘Unacceptable’

In a statement on Friday, Mr Jones said: “The Welsh Government believes this level of development is unacceptable in view of its wider impacts on the local area.”

He said the Tan 8 “capacities should be regarded as upper limits”.

Overall responsibility for large-scale energy generation rests with the UK Government.

Mr Jones said he hoped the UK Government would “respect” his announcement and “not allow proliferation when they take decisions on individual projects in Wales”.

He added: “My government would not support the construction of large pylons in mid Wales and my ministers are pressing this case with National Grid Transmission and with Ofgem.

“This situation amply illustrates why consents for major energy infrastructure projects must be devolved to Wales.

“We cannot accept a position where decisions made outside Wales will lead to inappropriate development for the people of Wales.”

He said he would raise the issue at a meeting of the British and Irish Council on Monday.

Officials said they had listened to the concerns of people in mid Wales where pylons could carry 400,000 volt electricity cables from north Powys to near Shrewsbury, Shropshire.