Home » MS calls for removal of ‘loophole’ that allows developers to ‘scar’ the countryside with electricity pylons
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MS calls for removal of ‘loophole’ that allows developers to ‘scar’ the countryside with electricity pylons

A MEMBER of the Senedd has called for the removal of a “loophole” that can be used by developers who want to build electricity pylons in North Wales.

Llŷr Gruffydd, who represents the region in the Senedd, says the move would prevent developers from erecting pylons that would “scar” the area’s countryside.

The Plaid Cymru MS has been contacted by residents in places such as Corwen, Llangernyw, and Bodelwyddan, who had concerns about the possibility of pylons being built in their areas.

Plaid Cymru recently put forward a motion in the Senedd that would ban developers from building electricity pylons and would instead force them to build power lines underground.

Although the Welsh Government says it would prefer developers to build power lines underground its Planning Policy Wales document still allows electricity pylons to be built in a number of circumstances.

Speaking after the debate in which the Plaid Cymru motion was put forward, Llŷr Gruffydd said: “As a party Plaid Cymru wants it to be mandatory for all new electricity distribution lines in Wales to be placed underground rather than conveyed through overhead lines.

“Though it is currently the preferred position of the Welsh Government that new power lines should be placed underground where possible we at Plaid Cymru believe that this does not go far enough.

“Plaid Cymru believes that wherever physically possible the undergrounding of new power lines shall be undertaken by way of cable ploughing in preference to open trenching.

“Developers are able to take advantage of what is effectively a loophole in the current planning system to build electricity pylons in areas where they shouldn’t be built.

“Residents in places such as Corwen, Llangernyw, and Bodelwyddan have been very concerned about the possibility of electricity pylons being built in their areas, and they are angry and frustrated that the planning system allows for this to happen.

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“The Welsh Government needs to listen to the voices of people who rightly don’t want to see our beautiful landscapes and of some of the most cherished and environmentally sensitive areas of our country despoiled by big ugly pylons. You don’t have the same kind of issues with underground cables.

“That is why Plaid Cymru is calling on the Welsh Government to update the Planning Policy Wales document.

“Specifically we want it to remove the existing caveat, which says: ‘however it is recognised that a balanced view must be taken against costs which would render otherwise acceptable projects unviable’.

“This caveat is at the root of a number of proposals for long-range pylon lines traversing large swathes of our country, including in North Wales.

“It’s abundantly clear that the current policy is not working from the lack of undergrounding currently, despite that being the Government’s stated preference.

“The undergrounding of new infrastructure for conveying electricity should be an absolute rather than a preferred position for the Welsh Government.

“Therefore the policy should state: ‘New power lines should be laid underground.’

“As long as the caveat exists as it is, developers will always attempt to exploit it and build pylons as their preferred option.

“So, we need to remove the caveat and mandate undergrounding, following the example of other European countries, such as Denmark.

“Since 2008, for example, all new 132 kV power lines in Denmark have been laid underground.

“Because of this the Danes have reaped the benefits of a more rapid path to decarbonisation, as public opposition to renewables has been much more muted as a result.”

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