Residents have one last chance to make their views known on controversial plans for overground power lines to connect wind farms in rural Conwy and Denbighshire to the National Grid.
A 60-day consultation period gets under way on Thursday over the proposal which would see the 132kV overhead line connection run close to a number of villages.
SP Manweb will be holding six public exhibitions in the affected areas to show people what they are proposing to build, where and how, before submitting an application later this year. The public will have until midnight on May 18 to have their say.
The 17km long power lines would start at a substation at Clocaenog Forest – collecting the power generated by the wind farms – and run to a terminal pole to the south of the B5381 Glascoed Road before continuing underground to connect into the national network at St Asaph substation.
The project is part of a wider scheme to secure grid connections for four new wind farms in and around the Clocaenog Forest area – three of which have been given the go-ahead.
Brenig, Nant Bach and Derwydd Bach are all approved schemes but the Clocaenog Forest proposal for 32 turbines, with a total height of 145ft, is still awaiting a decision from the Planning Inspectorate.
SP Manweb’s preferred connection route, using wood poles rather steel towers, would run mainly over farmland but would be particularly close to Llannefydd and Henllan.
Clwyd West AM Darren Millar says local people are strongly opposed to the scheme and fears the overground power lines will “wreck” the countryside.
He said: “Local people are furious that the proposed route for these power lines runs so close to their communities and their objections must be heard.
“Miles of overground cables will be seen by many as an eyesore, spoiling beautiful views of North Wales.
“The public response is further evidence of the opposition to the Welsh Labour Government’s shortsighted windfarm policy, which could wreck our countryside.”
SP Manweb’s statement of community consultation said: “The project has been developed to avoid or reduce potential environmental impacts as much as practicably possible when taking into account technical and economic constraints.
“132kV overhead lines can be built on steel towers (pylons), steel poles or wood poles (either double or single), however the farmland through which the majority of the line would be built is considered likely to be suitable for wood poles.
“Wood poles are preferred where technically feasible as they are less visually intrusive, less likely to be visible on the skyline and are more flexible for detailed routeing, providing a better fit with the landscape. SPM has been able to confirm no steel towers or steel poles will be required for the project.
“Underground cables may also be appropriate to overcome technical issues or in areas of highest visual sensitivity. On the basis of preliminary environmental assessment to date, it is considered an overhead line would be appropriate for the project, but final decisions will only be made in light of the final environmental impact assessment which will be completed following this consultation.”
SP Manweb is also proposing to replace trees lost due to the power lines on a “two for one basis”, offer hedgegrow and shrub planting where views of an overhead line significantly affect residential properties, sites of historic importance or recreational paths or venues,
The company will submit its Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate later this year. If successful, work could begin in 2015 and be completed by the following year.
Public exhibitions will be held at:
Chapel Vestry, Groesffordd Marli, on March 27 from 4-8pm
Church Institute, Henllan, on March 28 from 2-7pm
Denbigh Town Hall, Denbigh, on March 29 from 10am-2pm
Church House, Nantglyn, on April 1 from 4-8pm
Llannefydd Village Hall, Llannefydd, on April 2 from 4-8pm
Community Council Meeting Room at Roe Plas, St Asaph, on April 3 from 2-7pm
New Wind Farms
The planned wind farms are:
Proposal at Nant Bach, near Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr, Corwen, for 11 100m high turbines generating 27.5mv of power approved.
Proposal at Llyn Brenig for 16 100m high turbines generating 50mw of power approved.
Proposal at Derwydd Bach, Melin Y Wig, near Corwen, for 10 120m high wind turbines approved.
Proposal at Clocaenog Forest for 32 145m high wind turbines generating between 64mv and 96mv awaiting approval.
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