National Grid today announced that the route of a controversial power line through Mid Wales and Shropshire will go through the picturesque Vyrnwy Valley.
But it has been promised that the cable connecting more than 500 wind turbines in Wales to the electricity network will be buried underground in the more sensitive areas around the village of Meifod.
The valley was one of two options for the 30-mile long power line from Cefn Coch near Llanfair Caerenion to Lower Frankton near Oswestry. National Grid confirmed today the other route, which would have seen the cable installed through the Peniarth Valley, near the village of Bwlch-y-Cibau, has been discounted because of its steep terrain.
The details of exactly where the underground section will run are still being finalised and will depend on further assessment and surveys.
Work continues on plans for the rest of the connection and National Grid expects to confirm initial proposals for the full route later this year.
Mid Wales Connection project manager Jeremy Lee said: “We’re continuing to work on the best route for the connection.
“But it was becoming increasingly clear that construction challenges, such as the steepness of the valley, and environmental effects in the Peniarth Valley makes a route through the Vyrnwy Valley a better option to take forward.
“A section of underground cable around Meifod, seems appropriate recognising the beautiful landscape and rich cultural heritage.”
The National Grid plans for 30 miles of 400,000-volt cables, some on 46-metre high pylons, have sparked widespread protests from people who fear the use of pylons in particular, will decimate the tourism industry and devastate farming.
Leaders of the Montgomeryshire Against Pylons group say the latest announcement does not allay any of those fears.
Jonathon Wilkinson, from the group, said: “I really don’t think this changes anything and some of what they have said was to be expected.
“I don’t think the Peniarth Valley route was ever a serious option anyway but National Grid has to show they have looked at other options.
“It might seem good news for the people of Meifod that National Grid say they will underground the cable around the village but what happens to the poor people on either side of that?
“The worry is that the land will not be farmable for two years and we don’t know how our land will look after the work had been done.”
Montgomeryshire AM Russell George urged communities to remain united against the power project. The windfarm plans are due before a public inquiry, starting on June 4.
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