A decision on whether controversial wind farms will be built in Mid Wales will not be made until after the General Election, it was revealed today.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change’s announcement could delay work on the pylons that would carry power from the turbines to the National Grid in Shropshire.
Campaigners today welcomed the decision to postpone until the beginning of the next Parliament any decision on the Mid Wales (Powys) Conjoined Wind Farm Inquiry.
It sat in Welshpool last year to consider whether permission should be granted for wind farms at Llanbadarn Fynydd, Llaithddu, Llandinam, Llanbrynmair, and Carnedd Wen.
The inquiry also looked at the need for a high voltage pylon line linking into the National Grid at Lower Frankton near Ellesmere.
Now the Government has announced – in just one sentence on its website – that the inspector’s decision will not be made until after the May elections.
The announcement says: “The Inquiry commenced on 4 June 2013 and closed in May 2014. The Planning Inspector’s recommendations were submitted to the Secretary of State on 8 December 2014.
“The six applications require careful consideration of the planning and energy policy issues involved. We expect decisions to be made early in the next Parliament.”
Speaking following the announcement, Montgomeryshire MP, Glyn Davies, said: “I welcome today’s announcement by the Department of Energy and Climate Change that there will not be a decision on the public inquiry into onshore wind farms in Montgomeryshire for at least another two months.
“The decision will have huge implications for our wondrous landscape, and it would have been outrageous to rush a decision through before the General Election.
“This deserves very careful consideration, and my objective has been to ensure it’s not in any way rushed.
“ I’m pleased by today’s developments.
“It gives more time for a new Government to reflect on what should happen in the future. I remain implacably opposed to the scale and destruction of the Mid Wales Connection Project.
“Hopefully today will ensure the onshore wind farm developers will consider very carefully whether they should continue with their destructive plans.”
However one protestor, businessman, Clive Knowles, said the worry over whether the pylons would march across his sculpture park was taking a toll on his health.
He was expecting to meet with North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson today at his tourism and retail centre at the British Ironworks in Oswestry.
MP calls for Grid to suspend power work
Calls have been made for National Grid to suspend preparatory work on the power line that would connect planned windfarms in Wales to the UK’s electricity network.
It follows a Government decision to put the final decision on whether the project goes ahead until after the election.
Glyn Davies, the MP for Montgomeryshire, is calling for the initial power line works to be put on ice until the final decision is made.
He said: “I do think that National Grid and Scottish Power Energy Networks should now suspend work on the infrastructure needed to service these windfarms.
“It’s not acceptable that millions of pounds of customers’ money will continue to be spent on projects until we know whether they are actually needed.”
Montgomery Against Pylons campaigner, Jonathan Wilkinson, said that the final decision over the windfarms would be an extremely political one.
“Ed Miliband has made it very clear that his party wants to see a whole lot more windfarms and not just in Wales.
“That will make life incredibly difficult for protesters,” he said.
“However David Cameron has said that the Conservatives want to look at other methods of alternative energy, such as tidal power.
“This all puts a new light on the Mid Wales connection.”
“Montgomery Against Pylons has been urging National Grid for about six months now to hold the preparatory work until after the national election.”
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