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Power line's route picked across Shropshire

Oswestry | News | Published:

A hugely controversial 30-mile high voltage power line will be built across some of Shropshire and Mid Wales most beautiful countryside under plans revealed by power chiefs today.

A hugely controversial 30-mile high voltage power line will be built across some of Shropshire and Mid Wales most beautiful countryside under plans revealed by power chiefs today.

National Grid bosses want the 400,000-volt line to run from Cefn Coch, near Llanfair Caereinion. to Lower Frankton, near Oswestry.

They say the route – their preferred choice of 10 options – could run both underground and on pylons and cost up to £562million to construct by 2015.

It will link windfarms in Mid Wales with the national power network in England.

The plans sparked a storm of controversy last year when National Grid outlined the ten options, with thousands of people joining a series of protests against the plans.

Today's announcement of the preferred route comes after months of delays with campaigners claiming the scheme had left a 'shroud of uncertainty' hanging over the region.

At two public events in Shrewsbury and Welshpool today, project leaders revealed they have chosen Cefn Coch, near Llanfair Caereinion in Powys, as the site for a large substation where all the power from the windfarms will be collected.

A corridor of countryside spanning from Llansantffraid to Lower Frankton, between Oswestry and Ellesmere, has been identified as the best route to transport electricity from the windfarms to the main electricity network.

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The capital cost of the project could be anything from between £178 million to £562 million, depending on how much of the cable is laid underground.

National Grid chiefs today said they had not yet decided how the 400kV connection will be constructed but it is likely to be 'a combination of both overhead lines and underground cables'.

More work will now be carried out to establish how many pylons will be needed and how much of the cable can go underground.

The proposed route will go up past Meifod, and travel between Pant and Llansantffraid to the north and Four Crosses to the south. It will then go close to Knockin, Maesbury, and West Felton and directly through the village of Wootton before reaching its end point of Lower Frankton having travelled within just a few miles of Oswestry. The final route would sit in a broader corridor identified by National Grid and includes a variation to one of the original routes to skirt the Vyrnwy Valley.

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National Grid said listening to local views had 'played an important part' in coming to a decision, which they said had included consideration of issues like landscape, flooding, heritage, ecology, tourism and transport.

Jeremy Lee, lead project manager for the company, said: "We've been very keen to listen to the feedback from local people, and for it to help shape our plans together with the further work we've carried out following our consultation.

"We believe the substation site and route corridor we've chosen will allow us to balance all the things we have to consider.

"We are at an early stage and still have many decisions to make. We will carry on listening to local views and these will play an important role as our plans progress.

"We understand people have concerns about overhead lines, but where they are used, we will work hard to reduce any visual effects by routing the line carefully and using appropriate pylon designs which could include the new T-pylon."

The decision will come as a relief to some, with a number of options being ruled out by the electricity giant, including the second potential substation site at Abermule, near Newtown.

A second period of consultation will start shortly across Shropshire and Mid Wales, with a number of public information events planned to inform residents about the preferred substation site and route corridor.

Read more in today's Shropshire Star and have your say on the power line route in the comments below:

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