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Wales wind farm debate 'not over' says Powys council

Councillors in Powys say the debate on large wind farm developments in mid Wales is “far from over”.

The council cautiously welcomed comments by First Minister Carwyn Jones that wind farm development should be restricted.

Spokesman Michael Jones said Mr Jones’s had made a “helpful first statement”.

But he warned that the first minister’s comments fell short of an explicit commitment.

Hundreds took part in a demonstration at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay in May to voice their opposition to the proposed developments.

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.

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

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

In a statement last Friday, Carwyn 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”.

On Wednesday Michael Jones said: “The first minister’s comments are very welcome.

“Last week we said he must prove that he is willing to listen to the public in Mid Wales when they voice their concerns and he has responded promptly with a helpful first statement.

“What he has said also gives Powys County Council a much better base on which to respond formally in its role as consultee when wind-farm and power-line developments go before central government’s Infrastructure Planning Commission.”

But he warned that the rcomments would not satisfy people’s concerns.

“The [Powys] administration has called for a thorough review of Tan 8 in all its aspects, together with undergrounding of all high-voltage cables and until the Welsh Government agrees to both those demands, councillors will feel the debate is far from over.”