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Clwyd West AM’s consultation call on wind farm power lines

Proposals to erect overground power lines to connect wind farms to the National Grid, need to be subject to public consultation, an AM says.

Clwyd West AM Darren Millar wants a full and frank debate on the impact of the plans on homeowners who live in or around the wind farms in Conwy and Denbighshire.

Utility firm SP (Scottish Power) Energy Networks is working with a number of wind farm developers in North Wales to secure grid connections for energy projects in and around Clocaenog Forest.

Options for the overground connection routes, which are yet to be finalised, are likely to meet resistance from homeowners living close to the lines.

Mr Millar said: “The Welsh Government’s disastrous wind farm planning policies have led to a cluster of developments in and around the Clocaenog Forest without proper regard for connections to the National Grid.

“Local power lines do not have sufficient capacity to accommodate all of the new developments and utility companies are proposing new overhead cables to connect them to the grid.

“Emerging proposals indicate that these cables will travel over ground for many miles. There is no doubt they will be considered an eyesore by some and a health risk by others – particularly homeowners living in areas along the proposed routes.

“I have already met SP Energy Networks to express concerns about their plans. It is critical that they embark on a full public consultation as soon as possible to allow those living in the areas which could be affected to have their say.”

A Scottish Power spokesman defended the decisions to use overhead lines and promised a “full public consultation” on the development.

He said: “As the local distribution network operator in North Wales we have a licence obligation to offer connections to windfarm developers. As part of our obligation we are required to design a connection that is technically efficient and economic to construct and maintain. We will consider all options. However, in order to meet our obligations and technical requirements, an overhead line is the most likely option.

“The full public consultation is likely to begin next year once the initial work has been completed.”

Denbighshire wind farm developer Tegni Cymru Cyf called on the AM to embrace green energy solutions.

The firm’s managing director, Huw Smallwood, said: “There will be a consultation on this. It is important for Darren Millar to consider wind power. Fossil fuels and nuclear power, which needs uranium, are finite resources.

“Energy security is vital and I’d like to know what Darren Millar would do if the lights went out because some Russian oligarch decides to turn the gas (supply) off.

“Local companies like ours have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in the local economy thanks to Welsh Government policies on energy.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said major grid line infrastructure matters should be raised with the UK Government.