It’s “game over” or the Mid Wales Connection project – said campaigners after the refusal of four new windfarms.
Campaigners say that National Grid’s controversial 33-mile proposed pylon route between Cefn Coch and Oswestry costing an estimated £300 million is now under threat after Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom confirmed that windfarms at Llanbadarn Fynydd, Llaithddu, Llanbrynmair and Carnedd Wen were being refused.
This comes as today (Friday) is was revealed that National Grid is suspending all currently planned surveys across land that affected by the controversial Mid Wales Pylon Route.
Surveys were being conducted on land in the path of the connection which links wind farms in Mid Wales to a power station in north Shropshire.
Kathryn Lewis, chartered surveyor with Davis Meade Property Consultants said: “ I have just received a call from Bruton Knowles, agents for National Grid, that they are suspending all currently planned surveys along the pylon route across my clients’ land in the Meifod, Llansantffraid areas.
“This is an indicator that the route may no longer be going ahead,” she said.
Jonathan Wilkinson, organiser of the Montgomeryshire Against Pylons protest group which has protested at consultation events held relating to the route, said it is “game over” for the energy firm after the decision.
He said: “I’m very pleased as it has been a long road of four or five years so it has taken some doing but it is worth it in the end.
“I always felt that we could do it after the politicians changed their stance on climate change at the last election, I knew it was possible. Having said that I’m surprised how clear the eventual decision was.
“I’m very relieved and I’m very pleased for all the people who have given up massive amounts of time and effort and hopefully now they have an answer.
“A lot of people have become involved through the community and I have made lots of friends, it just shows what a determined community can do.”
Martin Kinsey, National Grid senior project manager, said at a consultation event in January this year that if the proposed windfarms at Llanbadarn Fynydd, Llaithddu, Llanbrynmair, Carnedd Wen and repowering Llandinam are not passed by the planning inspectorate then the final plans for the pylon route would not go ahead.
Mr Wilkinson said the decision means that Montgomeryshire will retain its beautiful countryside for generations to come.
He added: “The Welsh Government may say that Westminster has made the wrong decision but it was one made by the local authority. Mid Wales has a thriving tourism industry which will become more so now people know what beautiful countryside people have visited for generations.
“The most important thing is that National Grid has always taken our motto that no windfarms means no pylons, so no Mid Wales connection built which is a very clear message.
“Now they have no new windfarms opening and no government subsidies available for those built after April next year, I think the game is over and I understand National Grid will be contacting Man Web and there will be a joint statement in the coming weeks.
“Also I would like to credit MP Glyn Davies who campaigned against this long before I was involved and has sent out a consistent message. He has put a lot of work into this and taken a lot of stick at the same time.”
A spokesman for National Grid said: “The announcement gives people the certainty they’ve been waiting for about the windfarms in the DECC inquiry, ourselves included.
“There are other windfarms looking to connect in Mid Wales. Now that the decision on the windfarm inquiry is known we will work with SP Manweb to take a look at all of the proposed wind generation in Mid Wales and confirm the work that is needed to deliver the energy from the windfarms to homes and businesses.
“We realise people will want to know as soon as possible exactly what this means for the Mid Wales Connection projects. We’ll update local people as quickly as we can on our work to connect windfarms in the area.
“As we’ve always said, if it’s established National Grid’s connection is not needed, we would not progress with our plans.”
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