Call for local referendum on Brechfa Forest Grid Connection

AM and MP host full public meeting on ‘pylon’ proposals

Carmarthenshire Member of Parliament Jonathan Edwards has called on Carmarthenshire County Council to consider a local referendum on whether the electricity cables from the wind farms in Brechfa should be connected to the national grid underground.

Brechfa 2

Speaking from a packed public meeting at Pontargothi Hall on Thursday, the Plaid Cymru MP said there was overwhelming support for the undergrounding of cables – a position his party had championed since the proposals were launched.

Western Power Distribution (WPD) has been tasked by the wind farm developers to feed electricity generated by the turbines into the national grid. Current proposals indicate WPD will require 30kilometres of cabling which will be carried on 20metre wooden poles from the Brechfa area, to existing pylons in Llandyfaelog – 10km south of Carmarthen.

Constituency colleague Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM, who opened the public meeting, said the feedback he has received leaves no room for doubt that pylons, weather wooden or metal, are not welcome in the area and cables must be installed underground.

Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“The Teifi, Cothi and Towy valleys are perhaps the most beautiful areas in the whole of Wales and it is an honour to be the Member of Parliament for these communities. What was clear from the public meeting is that my constituents here overwhelmingly support electricity cables going underground.

“Long before these proposals were published, I stated that any plans for pylons and electricity cabling should have been submitted at the same time as the wind turbine application itself – only then would we have a true understanding of the impact of the wind farms.

“Since these proposals have become public, Plaid Cymru has championed the cables being laid underground – a position we took to the County Council and received unanimous support from other parties. It is clear we are in tune with the public opinion.

“The decision on pylons will be taken by Ministers in London and not by our own democratic institutions. That’s why I believe the County Council, which now supports the undergrounding of cables, should consider holding a local referendum for all communities in the path of the proposed pylons.

“An online petition proposed by the county council is welcome, but it alienates many people who do not use computers or simply don’t have access to good internet. A local referendum would send a clear message to the developers and Ministers in London that pylons are not welcome here”.

Constituency Colleague Rhodri Glyn Thomas added:

“I’m very pleased both Jonathan and I hosted the public meeting. There is considerable public interest in this issue which was clear by the attendance in the hall.

“Many of the concerns raised with us will help form our response to the consultation and will shape our work over the coming weeks and months. There are many unanswered questions which we will be putting to Western Power on behalf of our constituents.

“At the request of residents, we will be holding a further public meeting in the Pencader area very soon to engage more residents and receive their opinions.

“The feedback I’ve received from this one public meeting leaves no room for doubt that pylons, weather wooden or metal, are not welcome in the area and cables must be installed underground.”

3 Responses to “Call for local referendum on Brechfa Forest Grid Connection” [latest first]

  1. I would support a referendum – Western Power can afford to put the cables underground

  2. It’s important to remember that Western Power have a statutory duty to provide the cheapest connection – they have no preference, nor can they have an opinion (public opinion i.e) but are bound to supply. The underground option will cost c. 1 m per km, as opposed to c. 150,000 overhead; the developers are surely not likely to be charitable and choose the former option are they?

  3. Please ensure you ask WPD how much cement they use to secure the pylons and what amount of CO2 that releases into the atmosphere.
    Then when they start quoting cost savings ask them for both capital and revenue budget figures.
    The overhead cables are cheap to install so enabling the CEO & FD to show dividend to shareholders and secure their bonus, but at what cost long term.
    When winter comes and overhead cables rupture due to cold or high winds how much revenue do they cost each year to repair and how much capacity is lost to the grid at the very time we need it the most.
    This is all about bonus as the cost of overhead in the long term is far higher than underground cables which if laid correctly give long service with no interuption to supply.

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