South West Wales

Brechfa Forest wind farm power line route consultation starts

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

People are being urged to air their views on proposed power line routes for a controversial wind farm in Carmarthenshire.

Consultation now begins over approval for the power lines to be put up in Brechfa Forest.

Opponents are unhappy Western Power Distribution (WPD) wants to connect them with double-poled wooden structures up to 18m (59ft) high.

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

WPD, the company responsible for connecting the electricity from the planned wind farms to the distribution network, has already announced proposed corridors for the route.

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 Energy Minister Ed Davey.

Objectors have claimed the development would damage local people's lives and the ecology and tourism of the area.

The eight weeks of consultation on the power lines, which ends on 11 April, will include the following exhibitions:

  • Thursday, 6 March: Waunifor, Maesycrugiau, 15:00-20:00 GMT
  • Wednesday 12 March: Brechfa Village Hall, 15:00-20:00
  • Thursday, 13 March: Llandyfaelog Community Hall, 15:00-20:00
  • Thursday, 20 March: St Peter's Civic Hall, Carmarthen, 15:00-20:00
  • Friday, 21 March: Waunifor, Maesycrugiau, 15:00-20:00
  • Saturday, 22 March: Brechfa Village Hall, Brechfa, 10:00-16:00
  • Wednesday, 26 March: Llandyfaelog Community Hall, 13:00-18:00
  • Saturday, 29 March: Ivy Bush Royal Hotel, Carmarthen, 10:00-15:00

WPD spokesman Andrew Hubbold said: "This period of consultation is an important opportunity for local people to tell us what they think about our proposals and be part of the planning process.

"In developing our plans we have ensured that the views and local expertise of community representatives were considered in the decision making process along with those of our environmental and engineering specialists.

"I am looking forward to hearing people's views about our plans."

WPD said comments from the consultation would be summarised in a report published later this year.

When a preferred route is chosen, another consultation will be held in the autumn before the company submits its proposals to the Planning Inspectorate at the end of the year.

In September 2013, Carmarthenshire council launched an e-petition on the UK government website claiming the 132,000-volt power lines should be buried underground.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas, Plaid Cymru AM for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, echoed the call saying: "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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