Plans to run controversial powerlines across Shropshire countryside have been all but scrapped after the Government refused plans for five windfarms in Mid Wales.
Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom, went against planning inspector, Andrew Poulter’s, recommendations to approve the giant windfarms in Powys, meaning powerlines will no longer be needed to connect to the grid in Lower Frankton.
Charles Green, from Shropshire North Against Pylons (SNAP), said: “We are elated on the whole. This has been a demonstration that the public do not want windfarms.”
Jonathan Wilkinson, of Montgomeryshire Against Pylons (MAP), added: “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.”
Both SNAP and MAP were part of the protest group ‘The Alliance’ which fought to stop six proposed windfarms at an 11-month public inquiry ordered by the Department for Energy and Climate Change.
A spokesperson 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.”
THERE were mixed emotions as campaigners learned plans for five large-scale windfarms in Powys had been scrapped.
Despite the belief that the announcement is the end of the long-running saga into windfarms and an associated 33-mile powerline through North Shropshire, a number of campaigners said they felt embittered at the time spent fighting the proposal.
Clive Knowles, managing director of the British Ironwork Centre in Aston, which was under threat of having a pylon placed in the centre of its popular safari sculpture park, told the Advertizer he was both relieved and annoyed that the plans got as far as a public inquiry.
Speaking as staff at the business prepared to celebrate the news by burning their protest placards,he said: “It is an incredible relief, but at the same time it has been an absolute waste of time and expense, not just the expense of staff out on the picket line, but nationally with the inquiry.
“It is such a shame that these ideas are not thought through better before they even begin.”
Maesbury resident Linda Rickards, who at one point was told that if plans went ahead it could have seen a pylon built in the garden of the home she shares with her husband Tony Milner and 14-year-old daughter, Laura, said she also felt frustrated.
She said: “I am amazed and relieved, but it doesn’t make up for the stress that came with the news.
“There was not enough planning, no consideration for the effect on people’s lives.”
POLITICAL leaders found themselves split as news broke of the Government’s decision to refuse five windfarms.
The Welsh Government, which had backed the proposals, said up to £50 million of investment into Powys could be lost, along with jobs, contracts and millions of pounds of community benefit funds.
It described the decisions made in Westminster as “very disappointing”.
However the refusal has been welcomed by the local MPs, who praised the decision.
North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson said: “It is brilliant, a really good decision. I am really pleased that they have listened and taken action.
“It is a huge relief for all those people who were going to see their landscape destroyed and it has been a great campaign both sides of the border.”
Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies added: “Our wondrous landscape has been saved from desecration.
“We have protected the legacy which we have enjoyed for our children to love in the way we do.”
He also said he hopes that National Grid will quickly withdraw its proposal for its “disfiguring” 400kv line and massive substation.
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