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Anger at wind turbines plan for Shropshire border hills

Campaigners have criticised a controversial 10-year blueprint for more wind farms and solar panels on some of the most picturesque hills of the Shropshire-Wales border.

Under the proposals, tourist attractions such as the Kerry Hills, part of Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and Cilfaesty, which is known for its population of red kites, could become sites for wind turbines or solar panels.

Powys County Council bosses say the measures put forward in its local development plan are necessary to meet the Welsh Government’s request to use renewable energy sources.

Details have been listed under the ‘further focussed changes’ section of the authority’s plan, and it is hoped it could provide for Powys’ electricity needs.

Currently, experts have said wind produces 312.7 megawatts in Powys and there are no major solar farms.

But Jonathan Wilkinson, who lives in Meifod near Welshpool and is a spokesman for the Montgomeryshire Against Pylons campaign group, said: “We feel our beautiful countryside is under threat from these plans, which don’t even take into account how they are going to get all this power up and running.

“Tourists come from all over the UK and the world to Mid Wales to see our wonderful unspoilt countryside, including areas like the Kerry Hills, which have popular footpaths for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

“Montgomeryshire and the whole of Powys have already got a lot of renewables. We already have our fair burden and we, together with the whole of Wales, are generating more electricity than we need. Powys County Council have come under a lot of pressure from the Welsh Government on this and are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“But I think the Welsh Government should have a serious think about the detrimental impact these plans will have on tourism. It should be doing all it can to boost tourism as a priority.”

The proposals were last week criticised by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales.