Welshpool Town Council will conduct a survey of tourists during the Easter holidays to find out if they will continue to visit Mid Wales should controversial plans for giant windfarms get the go-ahead.
A public inquiry into plans for five windfarms to be built on the hills of north Powys will start on June 4, and with one of the main objections expected to be that windfarms will have a negative affect on tourism the town council plans to gather sufficient evidence to prove such a statement is true.
To do this, a questionnaire will placed in the Tourist Information Centre and distributed among caravan parks and hotels.
Town Clerk Robert Robinson said: “To simply argue that windfarms will have a negative affect on tourism is not enough any longer, we must be able to prove it.
“We are only interested in the opinions of people living outside of the area because it is from them that we need to find out if they will continue to visit Mid Wales as tourists should the plans get the green light.”
Thousands of campaigners from Mid Wales are hoping the legal battle will prevent the windfarms from being built, along with the power line and pylons that will run from a proposed 20-acre electricity station at Cefn Coch, near Llanfair Caereinion, to the National Grid’s line at Frankton, between Oswestry and Ellesmere.
The Department of Energy called in the five applications for windfarms at Llandinam (126MW), Llanbadarn Fynydd (59.5MW), Llanbrynmair (100MW), Llaithddu (66.7MW) and Carnedd Wen (130-250MW), along with a planning application for a power line from Llandinam to Welshpool.
Prior to the public inquiry starting on June 4, a pre-inquiry will take place at Llandrindod Wells on February 18.
At the pre-inquiry a spokesperson for Welshpool Town Council will argue that ‘public opinion’ should be taken into account, as this is not the case as things stand at present.
The Mayor of Welshpool, Cllr John Meredith, said: “With such strong public feelings surrounding the proposals, surely it cannot be ignored?”
Town Clerk Robert Robinson added: “If we were in England then public opinion would be considered under the Localism Act but that is not the case in Wales, but Welshpool Town Council will be making the point that public feelings towards these plans are so powerful that they must be taken into account.”
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