Protesters against plans to build a power transmission line through the Shropshire and Powys countryside have criticised National Grid for pushing forward with its scheme, claiming it may not be needed.
The power line would connect new wind farms in Powys to the grid, but members of Montgomery Against Pylons claim National Grid is wasting time and causing unnecessary disruption by not waiting until the wind farms get the go-ahead.
A public inquiry into the wind farms was held earlier this year and all interested parties are now waiting for the inspector to make recommendations.
But Robert Harvey from MAP has claimed National Grid is not waiting for the result of the inquiry.
He said: “National Grid is continuing to disrupt people’s lives and blight property values in Shropshire and mid-Wales using compulsory powers of access, dating back many decades, to build something that may never be approved.
“At a recent conference in London, a National Grid spokesman commented they had already spent in excess of £10 million on the mid-Wales connection project with no assurance it would ever happen.”
National Grid said it needs to continue planning work for the pylons and underground cabling so that it is ready to start building if the wind farms are approved.
Jane Taylor, spokeswoman for National Grid, said: “Many people have asked why we don’t stop work until the outcome of the inquiry is known. We have a duty to connect the wind farms from the date they start to generate. This means that we need to work on our plans in parallel.
“If it’s established there is no longer a need for our connection, then we would not build it.
“We are currently undertaking a range of different surveys and assessments which are helping to inform our proposals as they develop.
“Most recently, our teams have been carrying out socio-economic assessments to look more closely at tourism in the area, where people visit and what they do when they are here. Our engineering teams have been carrying out surveys to look at how we could access pylon sites and how we might route the overhead line into and out of the underground section.”
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