Campaigners are winning the battle to halt the building of a controversial pylon line through the region, a meeting has been told.
The upbeat message was delivered by Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies and echoed by Shropshire Council leader Keith Barrow at a meeting near Oswestry last night.
More than 100 people attended the talks, hosted by the British Ironworks Centre at Aston near Oswestry.
The centre’s chairman Clive Knowles arranged the talks as the 33-mile power line could be installed over his business land, jeopardising a new sculpture park he is in the process of establishing as the county’s latest tourist attraction.
The meeting was told the outcome of a planning inquiry into proposals for windfarms in Mid Wales was key to whether National Grid would press ahead with its plans for the power line.
National Grid is proposing to build the line from near the village of Cefn Coch in Mid Wales to a substation at Lower Frankton, near Oswestry.
The line, most of which will be carried overhead on pylons, will be needed to carry energy to the national network from the proposed windfarms in Mid Wales.
The year-long planning inquiry was closed last week in Welshpool and there will be a wait of several months before campaigners find out whether their efforts to halt the plans were successful.
Mr Davies said there remained a huge level of opposition to the windfarm schemes and to the power line proposal.
He said: “We have got ourselves in a position that I think is a lot more optimistic.
“I do think we are going to win this battle.”
Mr Davies said national targets for renewable energy were already on target to be met.
He said: “There is already enough renewable energy approved.
“There is absolutely no case for any more at all.”
Councillor Barrow was equally optimistic, congratulating campaigners who have battle the windfarm plans at the planning inquiry in Mid Wales and saying by continuing to work together, the campaigners can “achieve wonders”.
He said: “It seems like we are winning but we must keep up the fight.
“It is a continuing battle in our own backyard. I think we will win.”
Jonathan Wilkinson, chairman of Montgomeryshire Against Pylons, added: “This battle of ours is entirely winnable.
“National Grid are not used to being challenged in the way we are challenging them.”
Llanymynech’s county councillor Arthur Walpole said Shropshire Council has made clear its “disgust” at the pylon plans.
He added: “It affects property prices, it affects business, it affects tourism. It will be a blight on our communities.”
Powys County Councillor Myfanwy Alexander told last night’s meeting: “It is now got to the main part of the fight. We are in it for the long term and we are going to win.
“We need to stand firm. We need to remember this landscape means more to us than their money means to them.”
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