South West Wales

Brechfa Forest wind farms power line corridors unveiled

Brechfa Forest preferred route corridors map
Image caption The preferred route will join existing overhead lines south of Carmarthen

Plans to run power lines through a forest as part of a controversial wind farm project in Carmarthenshire, have been unveiled.

Approval has been given for some of the tallest turbines in Wales to be built in the Brechfa Forest.

But opponents are unhappy that Western Power Distribution (WPD) wants to connect them with double-poled wooden structures up to 18 metres high.

Carmarthenshire council and others want the proposed power lines to be buried.

WPD, the company which is responsible for connecting the electricity from the planned wind farms to the distribution network announced the corridors for the route on Friday.

The preferred route will join existing overhead lines south of Carmarthen.

Two of the wind farms at Brechfa Forest East and Brechfa Forest West have already received planning permission from UK government's Energy Minister Ed Davey.

Residents will now have the chance to share their views on the proposals during public consultation in the coming weeks.

Andrew Hubbold from WPD said: "It's really important to us to be sure that we are putting forward the best possible plan for this connection.

"In this case that means we've had to take a little longer than originally planned to review the information we gathered last year before deciding on preferred route corridors.

"Now that we have chosen these preferred route corridors the next step for us is to identify the most suitable paths, known as 'alignments', through these corridors.

"We will then take our proposals out to local people so that they will have a chance to make their voices heard during consultation and what they tell us will help us develop our plans."

Carmarthenshire residents will then have another chance to have their say during formal consultation in September 2014 before WPD puts its application before the Planning Inspectorate at the end of 2014.

In September 2013 Carmarthenshire council launched an e-petition on the UK Government website.

Members believe the 132,000-volt power lines should be buried underground, rather than be carried on wooden poles.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas said: "The importance now is that these connections are underground.

"That's what the people clearly want to happen.

"The companies and the government must understand that they're not only investing in renewable energy, they're investing in these communities and they must respect the wishes of those communities."

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