As the first stage of the Green Gen Cymru consultation draws to a close (Midnight Friday 28 April), local Plaid Cymru politicians have reiterated their opposition to the proposed 60-mile pylon route between the Radnor Forest in Powys and the National Grid south of Carmarthen.
Earlier this year, Green Gen Cymru announced proposals for a new 132kV double-circuit overhead line, supported on steel pylons, between a substation on the Nant Mithil Energy Park in the Radnor Forest area and a new substation, to be developed by National Grid, on the existing 400kV transmission line near Llandyfaelog, between Carmarthen and Pont Abraham.
The proposals have caused significant controversy and concern within Mid Wales and Carmarthenshire, with several community groups established to oppose the proposed pylons, together with widespread criticism and concern from local County Councillors and Senedd Members.
As part of the consultation process which ran from 6 March 2023 to 28 April 2023, Green Gen Cymru held a series of public meetings at locations along the proposed route, including at Builth Wells, Llandeilo and Llandovery – with hundreds of local residents attending to learn more about the proposals.
Plaid Cymru politicians Adam Price MS and Cefin Campbell MS have led calls for the proposed pylon route to be undergrounded – as is increasingly the case in several European countries, and other areas across the UK. An online petition launched by Plaid Cymru in favour of undergrounding has gained over 3,000 signatories, whilst Plaid Cymru-led Carmarthenshire county council voted unanimously to oppose the proposed pylon route.
Earlier this year, having been challenged in the Senedd by Plaid’s Cefin Campbell MS, Julie James, Welsh Government Climate Change Minister confirmed that “electricity transmission cables should be placed underground where possible, not just in designated landscapes, but where possible.”
Commenting as the initial consultation process came to an end, Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales said:
"Over recent weeks I have received hundreds of emails, letters and phone calls from residents across Powys and Carmarthenshire expressing grave concerns over the proposed overhead line. I have also attended many of the public meetings arranged locally and as part of the consultation process, to better understand the proposals and strength of local feeling.
In countries across Europe, and increasingly in many areas of the UK, we’re seeing a growing precedent for overhead lines to be buried underground. I have no doubt that if this project is to proceed, undergrounding should be the preferred option – helping to safeguard Mid Wales and Carmarthenshire’s natural beauty and rich historical heritage.
Whilst this consultation phase has focused on the proposed overhead lines, I have also received a sizable degree of correspondence regarding the proposed onshore development at Nant Mithil in the Radnor Forest. Plaid Cymru fully supports renewable energy generation - particularly community-owned, or offshore schemes. I do however appreciate the concerns cited regarding the scale and size of this proposed windfarm and have relayed this to the developers.”
Green Gen Cymru have confirmed they will be publishing a report summarizing the feedback received in this round of consultation and how this has influenced their proposals. They will then carry out a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment and hold further public consultation, so that residents can provide their views on the detailed route alignment.