Welshpool councillors have presented the Welsh Government with reasons why they are opposed to large scale windfarm development in Mid Wales.
Welshpool mayor Estelle Bleivas and Councillors Ann Holloway and John Meredith went to the Senedd in Cardiff Bay last Thursday, along with town clerk Robert Robinson, and addressed members of the Environment and Sustainabilty Committee on turbine transportation and how it would have a disastrous effect on Welshpool and the surrounding areas.
In a presentation given by Cllr Bleivas and Robert Robinson, the council expressed concerns about the 630,000 vehicle movements it would take to build 500 new turbines – 6,300 of which would be abnormal loads.
“To have that much traffic coming through Welshpool would be disastrous for the town as it would result in huge traffic congestion problems, which in turn would have an effect on tourism in the area, which is our life-blood.
“We also told them how a number of old buildings on Broad Street are built on sand and could be damaged due to the amount of extra, often heavy, traffic and how it could also damage our underground services such as the sewerage system.
“Also, how can having more than 600,000 vehicle movements during the next three to five years be ecologically sound? These are points that the committee took on board and I am pleased to say they listened carefully and appeared to agree with what we were saying.”
The Welshpool representatives also presented the committee with the findings of their door-to-door survey on windfarm development – which 40 per cent of Welshpool residents completed (more than turned out to vote in the last general election) with approximately 80 per cent stating opposition to such plans.
Town Clerk Robert Robinson added: “We presented the committee with the results from the survey of every house in Welshpool and they seemed impressed.
“The figures backed up the opinion from the numerous public meetings that have taken place, but, while they are good, having thousands of names on a survey is a lot harder to dismiss than having 300 people in a village hall.
“We also expressed the view that we were horrified that we were here (at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay) with such an important piece of policy yet some senior ministers are saying they didn’t understand the implications. When we suggested this surely warrants a review there seemed to be a lot of nodding heads.
“And as well as this a lot of time was spent talking about the consultation process and they seemed concerned that both the Welsh Government and Powys County Council had not fully consulted to the best of their ability with town and community councils.”
Cllr John Meredith, who watched the presentation with Cllr Holloway, said he though it went well and the AMs making up the committee listened to everything they had to say.
“They listened to everything we had to say and seemed to take it all on board,” he concluded.
“Both Estelle and Robert spoke very well and I think all four of us who went to Cardiff have come back feeling much more positively.”
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