Councillors angry as pylons plan submitted

Geograph / Peter Wood

Anglesey councillors have reacted angrily to plans to build new overhead power lines across the island.

The National Grid’s proposals for a second 400kV transmission link were accepted on Friday. The cables would carry electricity from the proposed nuclear reactor at Wylfa Newydd.

But Anglesey Council wanted the new power lines for the ‘North Wales Connection’ project to be built underground and warned a new set of pylons would affect local tourism.

The application comes after the council gave the go ahead for developers Horizon to clear more than 700 acres of land earmarked for Wylfa Newydd. The local authority is facing legal action from Greenpeace over the decision, as final permission for the reactor has not yet been given.

Reacting to the National Grid’s plans, council leader Llinos Medi said: ”There is a clear consensus amongst the Island’s elected representatives – we are unanimous in our opposition to a second line of electricity pylons across Anglesey, and we want any new power lines to be undergrounded.”

She added: ”As the host community and local authority, our priority is to ensure the best possible outcomes for the people and communities of Anglesey and we are very concerned that local views have not been considered following the engagement and consultation process.”

The National Grid said it had changed some of its plans after receiving over 5,000 pieces of feedback during its consultations. They include:

  • Selecting a route corridor along the centre of Anglesey, close to the existing line – avoiding options nearer the coast and in larger towns and villages
  • Building a tunnel to carry power under the Menai Strait and onto the mainland
  • Keeping the route away from such areas as Menai Bridge, Llanfairpwll and Y Felinheli
  • Seeking consent for another tunnel to protect the Anglesey Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Project manager Gareth Williams said: ”We recognise that we have not been able to do everything we have been asked. But we believe our proposals offer the best balance of everything we must consider and mean there are no long-term effects for most areas of Anglesey and north Gwynedd.”

He added: ”The connection will transport low carbon power to homes and businesses across Wales and the rest of the UK. Our application is an important step in unlocking many millions of pounds of local investment and around 9,000 construction jobs that the power station will create.”

”We’ve listened to what people have told us and made hundreds of changes – big and small – as we’ve developed our plans. The feedback we’ve received during our consultations, and through our conversations with landowners, has made a real difference to the final design.”

But Carwyn Jones, the Anglesey executive’s member for major projects, accused the National Grid of failing to give ”adequate consideration to the unique nature and characteristics of Anglesey as a small island and as a prominent tourist destination, with many areas of outstanding natural beauty.”

In an interview with BBC Cymru Wales, he warned that the council may consider legal action under the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, which came into force last year.

The council’s chief of economic development, Dylan Williams, said: ”Although we recognise the need for an enhanced grid capacity…we do not feel that the National Grid’s plans are the right solution for the island.”

”Our role as a key consultee will be taken seriously to ensure that National Grid have to deliver a project that works for the Island, its communities, residents and the Menai area of Gwynedd.”

The Planning Inspectorate will now formally consider whether to accept the application in the next 28 days. If it does, a series of local public meetings will be held before a final decision is made by the UK Government.

3 comments on “Councillors angry as pylons plan submitted”

  1. Margaret Litherland Reply

    Only one driving force in these proposals for more pylons. Minimum cost for maximum profit. Nothing new there then. However there are many concerns that are totally being ignored in this greed ridden quest.
    The aesthetic damage to areas already affected by these ugly structures is just one, without compounding it. There will be devastating effects to the rural population and,farming community alike . The valuation of properties in these areas will fall to rock bottom, again impacting on the residents, many of whom have lived here and contributed to this AONB for generations. There is also the ‘noise’ factor which can pose just one of the health hazards, together with the still ongoing research into the relation to high recorded cases of leukaemia in like for like areas where pylons exist. It is patently obvious that apart from keeping costs to a minimum, it will be far easier to bulldoze these proposals through in a much less populated area ,therefore having less chance of their plight being heard or acted on. Just one other thing that nearly blows a fuse,is the need to post not one ,not two but three identical glossy copies of the updates ,all in the same post !! This happens on a regular basis! A minor blip, but if this happening to every property at,totally unnecessary costs, maybe this money could be better used in the ‘cable pot’

  2. Cheryl Weaver Reply

    The National Grids consultations are flawed . We the people of Anglesey have not been listened to. The Land owners / Farmers have not been listened too they are very clear that they do not want Pylons. One farmer I talked with will loose his entire milking herd. This is just a snip of information out of my catalog.

  3. Pam Lee Reply

    Despite what they say National Grid have consistently ignored the people of Anglesey and all the elected and voluntarily representatives. The community is united in their opposition to the second row of pylons. Underground or subsea are the only acceptable methods of of transmission.

    13,330 people HAVE SIGNED A PETITION OPPOSING PYLONS AND OVERHEAD LINES. The adult population of Anglesey is approximately 35,000. Over a third of that number have signed the petition. National Grid have not listened to those people.

    The Grid are flagrantly ignoring “The Well-being of Future Generations Act” 2015. By ruining, irreversiblely,the landscape and the environment agriculture and tourism will be irreparably damaged. This will deny future generations the wherewithal to stay on the island and make a living for themselves and their families.

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