The building of windfarms and pylons across Mid Wales would destroy tourism in the region, councillors have claimed.
Fears were raised that the region would become “covered in windmills”, leading to the loss of millions of pounds in revenue brought by tourists.
Powys County Council’s planning committee met to discuss a report commissioned by the Welsh Assembly which warned of “tourism displacement” should developments go ahead.
And although principal planning officer Gwilym Davies said there are some “grey areas” from the report, member of the committee said they feared a huge impact.
Powys County Council and campaign group The Alliance, is currently fighting plans to build windfarms in Llanbadarn Fynydd, near Llandrindod Wells; Llaithddu, near Newtown; Llandinam, near Llanidloes; Llanbrynmair, near Machynlleth; Carnedd Wen, near Machynlleth, with a 132kV overhead electric line connection from a Llandinam windfarm to the Welshpool substation. The plans are subject to an ongoing public inquiry in Welshpool.
Councillor Huw Williams, member for Ystradgynlais, said: “In some areas such as Anglesey they are seen as an attraction, but not around here, I am sure it would put people off visiting Mid Wales. They would go elsewhere in Wales and our businesses would suffer. We need to stand up for our traders on this.”
Councillor Francesca Jump, member for Welshpool, said: “I am worried about the associated traffic which would come with the building of any windfarms in the area. It took me 45 minutes to travel the 14 miles between Welshpool and Newtown this week in normal traffic, so my goodness what will happen when massive lorries with wind turbine parts are coming through?
“It will be a disaster for tourism as nobody will want to come and visit in these circumstances.”
Councillor Eldrydd Jones, member for Meifod, added: “We must remember it is not only the windfarms but also the junk, the pylons and power lines which will put people off coming.”
Councillor Jones said that while Wales as a whole may not lose the tourists, Powys was likely to see a decline. She said there was real concern that windfarms and pylons would act as a “tipping point” by persuading people to avoid Powys and travel elsewhere.
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