Farmers who might be affected by a massive pylon building scheme in Mid Wales are being urged to “get their ducks in a row” pending future action.
CLA Wales said Scottish Power and National Grid’s Mid Wales Connection Project could have a huge impact on farms and other rural businesses.
But while a preferred corridor for the pylons has been announced, the precise route has yet to be confirmed.
CLA Wales said there will be “winners and losers” and it urged landowners to hang fire on potential compensation talks until they know more.
“In some parts the corridor is 4km wide which means many people will not be directly affected by the actual route when it is announced,” said CLA Wales director Ben Underwood.
“Moreover, the debate is still ongoing on whether the development of wind farms in TAN8 areas will go ahead – and no turbines means no connection.
“Our advice is not to spend a lot of money on land agents and consultants until you have found out more about the detail.”
The association is arranging its own information meetings and is encouraging its members to attend events organised by the National Grid and Scottish Power.
If approved, a 19-acre substation Cefn Coch would be linked to more than 100 pylons running past Meifod and Llansantffraid in the Vyrnwy Valley into Shropshire. Feeder lines will transfer power from proposed wind farms to the substation.
Ultimately the National Grid and Scottish Power can use compulsion to ensure the pylon route is realised.
NFU Cymru is worried about the potential impact on farmland. It insisted there should not be an automatic presumption that land can be “sacrificed” to accommodate the 400kV power cable.
The union’s Montgomeryshire chairman Edward Chapman said: “The only acceptable solution is for it to be laid underground and without impacting unduly on the ability to farm the land during and after installation.”
CLA Wales is also seeking details of proposed mitigation measures, with cable undergrounding a key issue.
National Grid said it would cost an extra £350m to underground the entire cable network, a five-fold increase on current costs.
But Mr Underwood said “injurious affection” to the local community had not been factored in.
“Other than agriculture, tourism is the area’s major industry and while the impact on this is difficult to assess, there will be market failure costs as well as other impacts on the wider society.”
Some parts of the route would be suitable for undergrounding, others would not, he said.
CLA Wales is seeking clarification on the easement payments being earkmarked for affected landowners.
Mr Underwood added: “I share many of the sentiments of those objecting to the scheme but for those landowners affected, they will be better offering staying engaged in the process and not disengaged.”
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