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Cables would become ‘visual blight’

Campaigners against the overhead cables claim they would be detrimental to the environment, to communities, a potential risk to health, a blight on housing and have an adverse effect on tourism in the area.

Carmarthenshire Council leader Kevin Madge has launched an e-petition on the UK Government website as part of a national campaign against the plans by Western Power Distribution.

Wales is being asked to support Carmarthenshire in its opposition to overground cables planned as part of the Brechfa wind farm proposals.

He is now urging everyone to show their support, and is also asking the Welsh Local Government Association, MPs, AMs and all 21 other Welsh councils to sign up.

More than 400 people have already signed the petition and the aim is to gather a minimum of 100,000 signatures which could see the issue debated in the House of Commons.

The petition states: “We the undersigned find it totally unacceptable that the proposed Brechfa Forest, Carmarthenshire, Wales, wind farm, national grid connection should be made via an overhead line supported by wooden pylons.

“The environment of these, and other communities, should not be blighted by the visual impact of overhead cables. We ask the Energy Secretary to ensure that such connections are made underground in the UK.”

The petition follows a notice of motion against the plans, proposed by Carmarthen county councillor Peter Hughes Griffiths at the last full council meeting, which was unanimously accepted.

Councillors heard that there was no technical reason why the cables could not be laid underground, it was a matter of increased cost for Western Power.

Mr Madge added: “It is vital that we demonstrate the strength of feeling against these proposals.

“There is no reason other than cost that the cables cannot be laid underground.

“We do not want this blight in Carmarthenshire or anywhere else in Wales, and we call on the Welsh people to make their voices heard. The decision must be taken by the UK Energy Secretary, it is essential he understands our views on this important matter.”

Calls are also being made for a referendum to be held over whether electricity cables should be connected to the national grid underground.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards said there was public support for cables to be underground and not carried overground as proposed.

He said: “Long before these proposals were published, I stated that any plans for pylons and electricity cabling should have been submitted at the same time as the wind turbine application itself – only then would we have a true understanding of the impact of the wind farms.

“It is clear we are in tune with the public opinion.

“The decision on pylons will be taken by ministers in London and not by our own democratic institutions. That’s why I believe Carmarthenshire Council should consider holding a local referendum for all communities in the path of the proposed pylons.”

The online petition sits on the UK Government website at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/ petitions/53592.