Denbigh and Conwy 10-mile overhead power line campaigners have days left to raise £20,000 to fight plans
Opponents to plans to build overhead power lines over parts of rural Conwy and Denbighshire have just days left to raise the cash to fight the plans.
The controversial scheme would see 17km of cables linking two wind farms in the Clocaenog Forest with a substation at Glascoed.
Landowners, environmentalists, councils and politicians had all opposed the scheme, arguing that the double wooden poles would be a blight on the countryside and affect farming operations.
But they have only days left to raise the £20,000 needed if they are to mount a legal challenge to the scheme, which has won the approval of new energy secretary Greg Clark.
In its report the Examination Authority, which conducted a lengthy public inquiry into the application last year, said the visual impact on Berain over the 30-year lifetime of the powerlines would be minimal.
In response to the argument that the cables should be laid underground, the Minister agreed that the additional £16m cost for 30 years would be disproportionate.
But at a meeting of the action group Pylon the Pressure Iona Mars-Jones, who lived at Berain for 50 years – it is now farmed by her son John – said she was furious about the decision.
“I feel very passionate about it,” she said. “Greg Clark had only been in post for a few days; what does he know about Hiraethog, Dyffryn Clwyd or Dyffryn Elwy?”
Referring to the decision to flood the village of Capel Celyn to create the reservoir for Liverpool in the 1950s, Mrs Mars-Jones commented: “This is like Tryweryn all over again.”
Group chairman Dyfrig Jones told the meeting that he and a couple of other representatives had sought legal advice on a possible challenge to the decision and it was agreed to engage a solicitor to take the first step of issuing a letter laying down the basic arguments.
That must be done within two weeks of the decision having been made, and although the group had pledges totalling a few thousand pounds available it was estimated that at least £20,000 would be needed to proceed further.
“If we don’t manage to raise that within the next week we cannot go ahead,” said Mr Jones.
Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies, who was among those who had supported the Pylon the Pressure campaign, said: “I am disappointed in this outcome, although I appreciate that the Secretary of State has to comply with planning law.
“I made a number of representations about the impact on the visual amenity of the area and my proposal was that the lines should be buried underground, albeit that was a more expensive option.”
The decision to allow overhead powerlines across parts of rural Denbighshire and Conwy has been described as “like Tryweryn all over again”.
There was particular concern about the impact on the farm complex of Berain, one of the most important Grade II listed properties in North Wales, with some of the buildings dating from the 16th century. Berain, near Llannefydd, was the birthplace of Kathryn of Berain, known as the Mother of Wales.
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