A secret report has recommended approval for three controversial windfarms which could change the Powys landscape and bring with it an “army of pylons”.
A leaked report by planning inspector Andrew Poulter (who conducted the Mid Wales Conjoined Wind Farm Inquiry) revealed this week that three of the five planned windfarms should be given the go-ahead by Ed Davey, the former Energy and Climate Change Secretary and a Liberal Democrat MP.
They consist of between 17 and 65 turbines up to 450 feet tall.
However, Mr Davey has handed the task of “rubber stamping” the planning decision to his successor in the next government.
A spokesman at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said Mr Davey had “relinquished making any decision” and instead left it to his successor after the general election in May.
The spokesman said four months had not been long enough for Mr Davey to make a ruling.
The five proposed windfarms which were the subject of a year long planning inquiry are proposed to be built at: Llandinam, Carnedd Wen, Llaithddu, Llanbrynmair and Llanbadarn Fynydd.
In March 2014 Powys County Council withdrew its opposition to four of the five proposed windfarms- except the one at Llanbadarn Fynydd.
The council also said in March it was discussing the cumulative effect of the proposed developments at Llanbrynmair and Carnedd Wen in the ‘Carno North strategic search area’ and the other three in the ‘Newtown South’ area.
Glyn Davies, former MP and Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Montgomeryshire, said that if the leaked report is true the refusal of two of the windfarm developments would be a “big blow” to developers.
He said: “I would be disappointed if any of the windfarms are approved but if the Sunday Telegraph report is correct, it would be another big blow to the windfarm developers in Mid Wales in that two of the biggest windfarms would be refused permission.
“Such refusals would further undermine the horribly destructive proposal by National Grid to build a line of massive pylons from North Shropshire to Cefn Coch in Montgomeryshire.
“I would be shocked if the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, or anyone else at DECC, were to have ‘leaked’ to the Sunday Telegraph any decision on the Public Inquiry into windfarms in Mid Wales. I’m not in a position to confirm the accuracy or otherwise of the report. It would be most improper. This is about the future of Mid Wales, not some grubby political game.
“All I do know is that the inspector’s report was delivered to the Secretary of State on December 8, and that normally a decision could have been expected in early March. We also know that DECC has announced that a decision has been delayed for a new Government to decide early in the summer.
“I have argued that any decision should be delayed, to allow a Secretary of State other than Liberal Democrat Ed Davey to consider it. If I am re-elected MP for Montgomeryshire, I will seek a further careful consideration of this windfarms/power lines project.
“It’s financial and environmental madness. It should be abandoned.”
If all five windfarms are approved National Grid has proposed to build a 33-mile pylon route – eight miles of which will be underground from Cefn Coch to near Oswestry to connect the power generated by the windfarms to the national power grid.
In January, former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg opposed the overground route which was supported by Paddy Ashdown who said if built this would see an “army of pylons” across Montgomeryshire.
UKIP parliamentary candidate for Montgomeryshire Des Parkinson took part in the Montgomeryshire Against Pylons (MAP) virtual balloon race last weekend and said that it would be a “huge blow” if these three windfarms had been accepted.
He said: “Last week I was fundraising with MAP but unknown to them these politicians have already made their mind up to go ahead with the development. It would be a huge blow as what we don’t want are these huge turbines all over the countryside, ruining the beautiful scenery and bringing all the traffic to go with the construction.”
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