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Pylon critics back speech by MP Owen Paterson

Campaigners fighting plans for a line of electricity pylons from proposed windfarms in Mid Wales to the national grid in Shropshire have welcomed comments by north Shropshire MP Owen Paterson criticising current energy policy.

The former Environment Secretary has called the current trend for windfarms and renewable energy “flawed” and urged to Government to adopt a new approach to meeting Britain’s energy needs.

In a speech to the Global Warming Policy Foundation later this week Mr Paterson will claim that to reach the target of cutting carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, Britain will have to scrap virtually all electricity generation from gas and coal.

He proposed that instead of investing “huge sums” in wind power, money should instead be invested in shale gas extraction and small nuclear reactors.

His comments on windfarms were welcomed by members of Shropshire North Against Pylons (Snap), which is fighting plans that would see National Grid create a major power line from windfarms planned for Cefn Coch, near Llanfair Caereinion, to the National Grid at Lower Frankton near Oswestry.

A Snap spokeswoman said it agreed with Mr Paterson that windfarms have had their day – although she disagreed with his support of shale gas. “The facts and figures show that windfarms aren’t reliable and cause large scale destruction in the countryside to generate energy for towns and cities,” she said.

She said: “We don’t necessarily agree with Mr Paterson about shale gas, but I think we need a mixture of power sources.”

Steve Boulding, joint north Shropshire spokesman for the Green Party, said: “In the appropriate places, we could have a balance between wind power, which would not be on sites of extraordinary beauty or historical significance and with underground power lines, and using solar power.

“We could have solar panels on every public building in the country – schools, village halls, government buildings and on everybody’s roof.

“That would meet all our energy needs on a balanced basis and in the short term, a small amount of additional power when needed could be achieved through fossil fuels.

“But in the long term we should be using energy created from solar farms in places like Africa and areas where it is sunny for a lot longer.

“Nuclear power shouldn’t be considered in any way shape or form. It produces high dangerous toxic waste and we can have all the power we want without producing that.”