Brechfa wind farms' meeting votes for buried cables

There has been much opposition to wind farms in the area

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Pylons to connect wind farms in Carmarthenshire to the National Grid would "destroy the area completely," opponents of the scheme claim.

The county council and others want the lines from existing and planned turbines in Brechfa to be buried.

Western Power Distribution (WPD) said wood pole overhead lines were preferred for its connection plans but it may consult later on burying them.

People at a public meeting on Monday voted against using pylons.

More than 100 people attended the meeting called by Carmarthenshire MP Jonathan Edwards and AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas at Pencader Pavilion.

They unanimously decided to campaign against the use of pylons and to call for the burying of all power lines from wind turbines.

WPD is proposing to connect Brechfa Forest wind turbines by building a wood pole overhead line between a new substation at Brechfa West Wind Farm and the existing overhead line near Llandyfaelog, south of Carmarthen.

Online petition

Start Quote

People come to see the birds, they don't come to see concrete and wind turbines”

End Quote Angela Marynicz Holiday home owner

It will also need to erect a wood pole overhead line between new substations at Brechfa East wind farm if the plans are agreed,

Plans for nearby Bryn Llywelyn Wind Farm are to be considered by a planning inspector but WPD says it could be connected via an overhead line or an underground cable route through Brechfa forest if it gets the go-ahead.

Last month, Carmarthenshire council started an online petition opposing the overhead connections to the UK government which has a final say on some of the plans.

Angela Marynicz, who runs a holiday home from her farm near Pencader, said her business has been adversely affected by the windfarms already.

Ahead of Monday's meeting, she told Radio Wales that more pylons and wind turbines would make things worse.

'Physical impact'

"I think it is making a huge impact on everybody around here and if they go ahead and put all the others up it's just going to destroy the area completely.

"People come to see the birds, they don't come to see concrete and wind turbines."

Dr Bridget Woodman, a lecturer in sustainable energy policy at the University of Exeter, said there were economic and environmental impacts either way.

She said: "Burying cables makes the whole project much more expensive and that will end up being added on to people's electricity bills.

"The physical impact of burying cables underground isn't unsubstantial.

"What you are doing when you are burying the cables is disturbing the subsoil, you are messing with quite a large chunk of land and that has a long-term impact.

"There are quite a lot of pipelines that have gone across Wales and you can see where the pipelines have been laid because the grass and the eco-system on top of where the cables are is very different because the soil has been disturbed.

"So it's a question of which way people want to go."

Preferred connection

WPD said it began consultation in June to obtain local knowledge from community representatives but has yet to agree any routes.

Andrew Hubbold said the power distributor is obliged to provide an "efficient, co-ordinated and economic connection".

In a statement, WPD said that overhead line is also the preferred connection method for the wind farm developers, RWE npower renewables and Renewable Energy Systems, as they will be paying for the connection to be made.

WPD said once it had chosen a preferred route and carried out more detailed surveys later this year, it may decide that for visual, ecological or technical reasons it might be justified to underground certain parts of the lines.

A second stage of consultation would then be held in early 2014 involving the public and landowners.

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