Newly-appointed Environment Secretary and North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson will attend a public meeting called to discuss controversial plans to build powerlines through Shropshire and Mid Wales, it has been announced.
Officers and councillors from Shropshire Council will join the MP at the talks at The Venue at Park Hall, Oswestry, on Friday, September 28.
National Grid is planning to build a 30-mile long power line from Cefn Coch near Llanfair Caereinion to Lower Frankton, near Oswestry, to take energy from windfarms in Mid Wales to the national electricity network.
The power plan has sparked a storm of protest from campaigners who fear the line will destroy the countryside and the tourism economy.
National Grid said it would announce next year which parts of the line would be buried underground and which parts would be carried by pylons.
The firm said having the full line built overhead would cost £75 million while having the full line underground would cost £445 million.
Mr Paterson’s office today confirmed the cabinet minister, who took over the environment portfolio in David Cameron’s reshuffle on Tuesday, would attend the public meeting, starting at 6pm, organised by Shropshire Council leader Keith Barrow.
Councillor Barrow said: “I am strongly opposed to any plans that would see pylons springing up across large areas of the county’s countryside because of the negative impact this would have on the landscape, on local communities, and on the county’s economy.”
Jonathon Wilkinson, from Montgomeryshire Against Pylons, said: “We welcome the fact that we have an environment minister who is well aware of the issues and the problems.”
By Iain St John