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‘Don’t trash our landscape’: MP hits back over ‘shocking’ Mid Wales windfarm plans

Proposals which could see scores of wind turbines and solar panels built across the region have been branded as “shocking” by an MP.

Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies said Powys County Council’s local development plan is an invitation to every windfarm and solar farm developer in the world to come to Powys to “trash” its landscape.

Mr Davies made the comments after the council’s cabinet approved last-minute changes to the renewable energy policy section of its Local Development Plan, despite objections being raised by nearly 600 members of the public.

He said the authority had put the fear of the Welsh Government ahead of the public.

The new policy raises Powys’s renewable energy target to 600 megawatts and designates large areas throughout Powys for wind development projects of up to 25 megawatts and solar development projects up to 50 megawatts.

Mr Davies said: “The local development plan that the council cabinet has approved is an invitation to every windfarm and solar farm developer in the world to come to Powys to trash our landscape. It lets the people of Powys down.”

Campaigners warned that the landscape of Mid Wales could be “transformed beyond recognition” by part of the blueprint plan.

Members of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales and politicians have accused Powys County Council’s cabinet of putting the Welsh Government before the feelings of objectors.

Before a decision to approve the LDP, members were reminded the inclusion of the areas were in response to advice from the Welsh Government to incorporate them as part of the renewable energy policy in their LDP.

Chris Fuller, chairman of the Montgomeryshire branch of the CPRW, said he was “disgusted” by the decision.

He said: “I’m concerned by the lack of note taken of public opinion, it’s completely undemocratic and could mean the upland of Powys is transformed beyond recognition in a worst case scenario.

“Our main concern is the landscape and ensuring Powys has a vibrant countryside but if the worst does happen, we will see that dramatically changed beyond comprehension.”

Peter Ogden, director of the CPRW, said: “On the one hand Welsh Government’s First Minister has publicly stated ‘We have not directed Powys Council to amend their LDP’, and also ‘It’s a matter of local democracy that a local council can produce its LDP, taking into account national planning policy’.

“Yet on the other hand Powys officials and cabinet members are saying they’ve been forced into including the proposals for renewable energy developments in their proposed Local Development Plan because of the demands of Welsh Government. Both cannot be right and it is the Powys landscape that will be forever damaged by this intolerable confusion.”

Today local authority officials are due to meet with MP for Montgomeryshire Glyn Davies, Radnorshire MP Chris Davies, and Russell George, assembly member for Montgomeryshire, to discuss the changes to the renewable energy policy section of the LDP.

The LDP will go before planning inspector Nicola Gulley at a pre-hearing next month.