Saturday, March 26, 2011

400kv cable will be Montgomeryshire people's 'Tryweryn'.

Spent two hours today at an exhibition by National Grid and SP Networks of their proposals to construct the infrastructure needed to transfer power from the proposed wind farms in Mid Wales (mostly Montgomeryshire) to the existing Grid. They involve a 20 acre substation (Abermule or Cefn Coch) and a 400kv cable from it to somewhere north of Shrewsbury on 150' high steel towers (with the possibility of part being undergrounded. Plus various 132kv lines from the wind farms to the substation. Quite an event. Probably about 1000 people turned up. Everyone is very worried - and rightly so.

Posted on this before (ad nauseum), so will spare readers more of my outrage about the philisinic intentions of the politicians who gave National Grid and SP Network their instuctions. I'll just raise two questions in need of clarification, and one growing concern (with a bit of outrage creeping in!). Firstly, we need to know what role the County Council has played in selecting the two sites being placed before us today. We are being told that they have been chosen (and many others rejected) after much discussion between National Grid, SP Networks, the CCW and Powys Council (though not councillors). Is this true?

And secondly, there is the relationship with a Newtown Bypass. My understanding is that there is no relationship at all, but a counter view is circulating. Perhaps I'll be able to clear this up when I meet with Ieuan Wyn Jones next week to discuss Newtown's chronic traffic problems.

And finally, the growing concern. There were voices today which see the consultation as a battle between Abermule and Cefn Coch. This must not happen. We are in this together. When I'm asked where the substation should go, my answer is nowhere. The whole thing is completely mad. We must fight it to the bitter end, hoping that common sense will prevail. Abermule is a thriving community. The Vyrnwy Valley is one of the most beautiful in Britain. For the people of Montgomeryshire, it is our 'Tryweryn'. If this abomination goes ahead, the National Assembly for Wales will never be forgiven.


Photon said...

Power cables are a matter of growing concern. Power networks have a kind of national interest override on network developments, so they essentially get whatever is needed to bring power approved. It is somewhat less than democratic.

On Anglesey, whilst many are biting their nails waiting for the go-ahead of Wylfa 'B', we are yet to see quite how 6GW of power will be taken off the island. It's either goign to be several lines of 50m-high pylons or an undersea cable. Anglesonians will probably roll over and allow everything, but taking 5 lines of pylons across Snowdonia might see rather more protest developing.

Anonymous said...

It seems that it is time for all the campaign groups, concerned MPs, AMs, MEPs, councillors etc. to get together uner one banner and march on both Westminster and Cardiff. Perhaps then, and only then, our governments will be forced to open their eyes and stop this madness.

Glyn Davies said...

Photon - Personally I accept that landscape desecration can be inevitable - if the benefit is sufficiently strong. Wind farms do not provide the needed benefit.

Anon - I understand why you think as you do. The National Asembly Government's determination to scar Montgomeryshire with several hundred turbines and a cable which which lead to a devalation of more property than has ever happened in rural Wales before is a massive issue. I received another comment which claimed I should not have compared it with Tryweryn. There will not be many people amongst the 1000 who turned up yesterday who agree with that opinion. I was very grateful to the comment (too offensive for me to publish) for correcting my spelling of Tryweryn. Spelling has never been a strength. I suppose I could have compared it with Lake Vyrnwy.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Glyn Davies said...

Anon - There was one word in your comment that I did not want to include on my blog - so I've written out your comment with it blanked out. Your comment read

"Our ********* AM, Mick Bates is keeping very quiet about this, and no wonder. He more than anyone has been instumental in pushing for wind farms in Montgomeryshire. I wonder how he feels now that there is a general shock and outrage at these pylon and substation proposals.

I couldn't agree with you more that it isn't an issue of Abermule or Cefn Coch - the people of Montgomeryshire must unite to fight them being built anywhere."

Sorry anon, but I just do not want to be a part of any criticism about other matters. He's paid his price, and he retires next week. But I did want everyone to know what Liberal Democrat policy is. I've taken enough stick about this over the last six years. I too want people to remember who saidwhat when they next vote.

Anonymous said...

No wonder Mick Bates is keeping quiet, he has submitted a planning application(in his wife's name of course)for wind turbines on his land, and so has his sister in law!!

Glyn Davies said...

anon - I think that's unfair on Mick Bates. He has been a genuine supporter of onshore wind farms for as long as I can remember. I do not believe his suport has been driven by a financial interest. He really believes in them.

Anonymous said...

"Unfair on Mick Bates" oh poor thing!!
We mustn't hurt his feelings.

The fact is his motives were political and not because he cares for the environment. He has a phone mast on his land - and it went up in the days when you didn't require planning permission.

Even some of the most ardent fans of wind farms are now seeing the light and the consequences of whole sale development of them in Montgomeryshire.

It is all madness, and we are all living in fear until September.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't our Conservative government put pressure on WAG to drop TAN8 before its too late?

Anonymous said...

Re: Mick Bates - I agree, he's been 'punching' for them for years, getting stuck in to the 'rough and tumble' of the debate. He's always been 'fighting' for more turbines!

Anonymous said...

Glyn - you have a wonderful opportunity to be the people's champion on this issue. You can fight for us on the inside and try to get the Government to see that on-shore windfarms are not the answer to our energy needs.

We need to educate everyone - expecially businesess and industry to save energy. There should be a Government backed campaign in all the media about not wasting resources. For example office blocks lit up like xmas trees all through the nights with no-one in them. Shops that use insane heating over the front doors of their shops with the doors wide open, more grants towards everyone insulating their homes more efficiently - the list goes on.

Please, please help us Glyn. It's great that you talk about how you feel on your blog - but let's see your views out there in print and on the TV and radio.

Anonymous said...

as much as i can't stand Mick, 99.9% of wind farm applications are by wind farm companies that want to develop on land. The land owner is just the landlord of these magnificent machines.

Anonymous said...

Thankfully we don't live in Glasgow so we don't have to breathe in the air which has nuclear radiation from the Japan nuclear disaster.
We as a country have to invest in better renewables. it would be mad not to and I am proud that mid wales is at the forefront of it all.

Gareth Williams said...

I too largely blame Mick Bates for the disaster that is now hanging over Montgomeryshire. He has been the most energetic supporter of Tan 8 right from the start - perhaps if he'd been a local man, rather than moving here from the urban jungle of Loughborough, he might have thought twice about encouraging the WAG to use beautiful mid Wales as a dumping ground for these pointless windfarms. He disgraced himself, and his constituency, with his drunken behaviour in Cardiff, and didn't even have the decency to resign even when found guilty. Thank God he'll soon be gone, but the damage he has done will be with us for a very long time.

Anonymous said...

only a fool would stand in the way of change.

we need the correct infrastructure in place to take this dying county forward.
Yes we are being fed that the new power station is for the wind farms. but there is a bigger picture not examined. The WAG have in place incentives for land owners / households / businesses to create electricity from all forms of renewables. Why are we not jumping onto this band wagon and taking advantage of this?
If every household had a solar panels, every tourist caravan had it's own mini windmill, every farmer had their own hydro turbine, just think what this would do for our rural economy in terms of investment / jobs / pride.

On issues as important as this, you have think outside of the box. god darn narrow minded people are holding this county back. Lets progress forward and embrace much needed change.

On another note, in a decade or so, Aber hospital will be downgraded, Shrewsbury hosptal will be just a small chicken shed. The word "centralisation" is being used in politics more and more. whats to say Aber and
Shrewsbury hospitals will not close and a new hospital built somewhere in the middle? That make is somewhere around Llanidloes. GREAT NEWS for this area in the terms of jobs.
We need the correct infrastructure in place for this to happen though and there are too many people standing in the way of progress.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous (Wed Mar 30):

I think you are getting change and progress confused. There is nothing progressive about having whole swathes of our rural landscape covered in a failing technology that will not prevent the need for backup power stations. Germany and Denmark are abandoning their wind farms now that they realize they are not the answer. I agree that households should look at the incentives for individual energy schemes (roof top solar panels etc) but large scale on-shore wind farms are not the answer. Any jobs will go to the constructors of the turbines and a few crane operators, very unlikely to be local. Once these wind farms, pylons and energy hub are built, all we will be left with are a few maintenance crew, if that. However, the loss of revenue from the fall in tourism will dwarf this. If you want genuine investment in Mid-Wales, we must look at ways of boosting tourism and opportunities for hi-tech IT firms to relocate here. These will provide jobs without destroying the natural landscape. You say you would like a new hospital in Llanidloes. Do you really think tentacles of pylons across Powys will achieve this?

Bril said...

Glad to see the weight of opinion growing against the SPEN proposals. I thought that sustainable energy was meant to preserve our planet not destroy it with unsightly infrastructure. How can we bring everyone together against these proposals - there are bound to be small campaigns popping up everywhere that need to be bound together? Glyn, your stand on this is much appreciated and I know from an admittedly small scale planning application that the public can fight and win, even at appeal stage. It's all about noise, coherence and getting the big names on board. Happy to help.

Anonymous said...

sadly i know from people within the hospital that the down grading of Aber hospital is in the very early stages of discussion and that Llani is being considered as a central hospital site.
If our existing power lines can provide enough electricity for this then yes, carry on.
who am i to stand in the way of progress

Anonymous said...

"wind farms do not provide the needed benefit"

They are a step in the right direction. They are here! It needs someone with vision to take forward this renewable energy drive in this area of wales. not just wind power but other forms of renewable energy. There are jobs and investment in the waiting.
Narrow minds will get us nowhere.

Anonymous said...

I assume the last two comments are April Fool's jokes?

Anonymous said...

how many schools in mongomeryshire? all are in threat from closure due to budget issues?
why not stick a few solar panels on the roofs of these buildings even a mini turbine or two. they could sell electricity generated to the national grid to help bumph up their funds. after all, these buildings are empty for at least 12 weeks of the year.
and why stop at schools? there are Council buildings? empty factory units? The list is endless. Darn, we are on the brink of a green sustainable future here in Powys. where is our voice to take charge?

MAP (Montgomeryshire Against Pylons) said...

We would welcome all who realise how these plans will effect them to visit our sites and show their support and we would also welcome all those who have not yet realised that even those not in the route corridors will be both directly and indirectly effected in a detrimental manner

MAP (Montgomeryshire Against Pylons) Campaign Group

Anonymous said...

I seriously doubt that the addition of few solar panels / mini-windmills to our schools would even reduce their energy bills substantially, let alone provide them with enough spare electricity to sell to the grid to save them from cuts. This also has nothing to do with the disastrous plan to cover Powys is uneconomic turbines and tourism destroying pylons.

Anonymous said...

you can not fight your corner using urban myths. turbines do not deter toursits and i doubt that pylons would either!
The majority of tourists in this part of wales come from the midlands are are used to seeing pylons.
other tourist hot spots have pylons too.
So much doubt by the nimbys and everything they say is flawed!

Anonymous said...

But what benefits would these turbines and pylons bring? Wind farms will not solve the energy crisis and the number of local jobs will be insignificant, probably in single figures. AND what is wrong with NIMBYs? Why can't we defend our local community and environment from outside threats?

new2powys said...

As I understand it the economy of Montgomeryshire is dependent upon farming and tourism. I assume the windfarms and pylons do not affect farmers but surely it is a 'no brainer ' that tourists will not come to a once beutiful area now to be covered in windfarms and cables. I simply do not believe your contributors who say the tourists don't mind - show me the evidence. What on earth are the authorities doing? Who should I write to ?

Anonymous said...

Montgomeryshire has 2 things going for it , beautiful countryside and really good secondary education including 6th forms. The wonderful welsh assembly is trying to destroy both at once, what a disasterous year 2011 could be for Powys. We must fight to stop both of these insane, badly thought out plans from happening.

Bril said...

Anonymous said...

I don't want to raise alarm here, but I have seen a pylon in the Newtown area. It's been there for many years. Fact.

It hasn't detered any tourists to my knowlage. there is even a tourist attraction right by it.

Continuing on our journey to Shrewsbury, more pylons!!! Pylons in beautiful country surrondings but still, buzzing, thriving industries of all sorts. A sign of civilisation maybe?

Anonymous said...

Yes - there isalready a 132kv live travling from Newtown, through Abermule to Shrewsbury - but his is on a wooden pole stucture - it is only a metal pylon when it has to turn a corner. but his line is 1/4 of the hight of the pylons national grd are proposing. Also Abermule ha a much higher rate of Cancer that an other village in Powys - that line has always been susspected to be the reason - but there is no way of proving it. This is why we do not want lines from 14 windfarms coming in and out of Abermule.

the arguments for Abermule are very different - for Abermule it is the health risks & house prices dropping & the devistation this will make to the thrivithing commuity - the school has already has people say they will take there kids out of the school if the hub comes & that will in turn kil the community centre which at the oment is the busiest community centre n Powys.

For Cefn Coch the lie willl not be s close to houses, but it will devistate the torrism that come to see the unspoilted meifod vally.

I dont see how some people think this will increase jobs in the area. Once the pyloons are up there will only be 3-4 jobs mainatining the hub - Im sure there will be alot more lost in the torrist trade

Caz said...

Yes, we have wind farms to some extent. But WAG is proposing covering all the uplands of Wales in thousands of windmills, with the associated pylons, cables and acres of transformer sites. And FOR WHAT? I believe in renewable energy IF it is also REPLACING traditional power stations. But windfarming doesn't do that - it is too unpredictable and inefficient. What's the point of desecrating our land for no benefit.

What I want to see is a HALT in WAG's policy and a review of renewable energy in Wales. What are our alternatives? Let the people make the decision. I feel so betrayed by WAG - it has taken centuries for Wales to have some voice of its own, but the politicians still aren't listening. I, for one, want to make this a Wales-wide issue, not just Montgomeryshire. By engaging nationwide and raising awareness of this devastation that will cover the hills of Ceredigion, Hiraethog, South Wales as well as Powys for NO BENEFIT!!

Glyn - I am so pleased that you are leading us on this in such a determined and passionate manner.

Is there a date for Cardiff? I am rallying the troops. We will make Cardiff listen. If tens of thousands of people can make their voice heard in North African states, then surely we can be heard in Cardiff?

new2powys said...

Having last week watched the TV programme about the refusal of a wind farm planning application by Devon councillors, it is apparent that 'Devon pretty' ranks higher up the scale than 'Montgomeryshire pretty'. Can this be? Or is it simply that the Devon councillors have rather more backbone than our so called representatives in Llandrindod ( who just keep saying they are only doing what they are told).