North West Wales

Anglesey councillors unanimously oppose pylon plan

Pylon
Image caption Anglesey council has urged the National Grid to "put people before pylons"

Councillors have voted unanimously to oppose plans for a second line of electricity pylons across Anglesey.

They would connect the island's planned nuclear power plant to a substation in Gwynedd.

But at Monday's extraordinary meeting full council called for electricity to be carried in underground cables.

The National Grid consultation ends this week, and it said it needs to balance people's views against technical and legal requirements.

The plan is to connect the proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station to the Pentir substation in Gwynedd by pylons.

The new electricity line would run in parallel with an existing line.

Where the line crosses a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at the Menai Strait, the National Grid is proposing to build a tunnel and run the cables underground.

Image caption The Menai Strait cable will take five years to build

At the meeting, councillors argued that scrapping the current plan was the only way to protect tourism - worth £280m to the economy - and avoid "severe social and environmental impacts" on communities.

Council leader Ieuan Williams said the plans for more pylons "threatens to break the economic backbone of Anglesey - tourism.

"As a council, we're standing with the people of Anglesey in their total rejection of pylons as a means of carrying a new overhead power line.

"National Grid should put people before pylons."

In his response to the consultation, council chief executive Dr Gwynne Jones said "full undergrounding" is the only option considered acceptable by the council.

"A second line," he claims, "will give rise to major impacts on the landscape of the island which are of serious concern.

Local AM Rhun ap Iorwerth and the island's MP, Albert Owen, have also campaigned against the plans.

Aled Rowlands, external affairs manager at the National Grid, told BBC Wales they had received a lot of feedback from local people during a 10-week consultation.

"Over the next few months we'll be looking at our plans as they are and seeing if that feedback can help improve them," he said.

"What local people, the local authority and local politicians tell us is really important and we will take those things on board as we develop our plans.

"It's our role to balance those things against technical and legal requirements, to ensure that the connection is correct and value for money."

The Planning Inspectorate will make the final decision.

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Media captionAnglesey council wants the National Grid to "put people before pylons"

What happens next?

The National Grid's consultation closes on Friday.

It will submit a planning application or Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate in the autumn of 2017.

The Planning Inspectorate will then advise the UK government whether or not to grant permission for the line to go ahead.

It all depends on whether Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant gets the go ahead.

Its developers, Horizon Nuclear Power, also hope to submit their own Development Consent Order in 2017.

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