Mid Wales Electricity Connection (N Grid)

Enquiry received via email

Mid Wales Electricity Connection (N Grid)

12 May 2011
Sona Champion


The consultation exercise designed by the National Grid has caused the following problems amongst communities who are potentially affected by the Electricity Pylons:
1. The documents which came through the post were misleading. Most people who received them have discarded them as ?Junk Mail?. The original letter from National Grid is a key item in their consultation process. If that fails then the whole consultation fails.
2. On the map showing the Purple South Route through the Rea Valley, Worthen is not included in the shaded area for the route; the pylons would skirt just around the village and up Long Mountain, which is visible from practically everywhere in Worthen because the village sits in the valley. This inadequate shading in of Worthen on the map was completely misleading to many people, who did not object to the plans at the outset because of this mis-information.
3. Many people are cynical about the ?consultation? process due to the action of the National Grid in the past in other areas; they believe that the National Grid will do whatever they choose to anyway, regardless of the volume, strength and validity of the complaints it receives. This has led to complacency amongst many people who live in the affected areas. The National Grid has a duty to either change their image to the public consistently and repeatedly, in order to convince the public that they do actually listen to the consultation process, and a duty to actually ignore the costs of burying powerlines underground and do as the public wishes.
4. The most unspoilt areas are just that because of the few numbers of people who live there, and hence these areas are the most vulnerable to be chosen for the route of the pylons because their voices don?t add up to much compared to other areas. This is the irony and the ridiculousness of the whole ?consultation? process; one of your ?consultants? admitted that this was purely a numbers game ? ie, which area makes the most objections will be spared, and the cheapest route will be chosen. The most unspoilt area is the one where fewest people live, and because us humans do such a brilliant job of ruining rural unspoilt areas (including the National Grid) it is because there are few people living there that the area is unspoilt!
5. The documents rely on people having access to the internet to find out if the cable will affect them. Many people still don?t, especially the older groups.
6. Many people affected have not received a letter.
7. The Consultation Feedback Form which National Grid have adopted and which was not in the letter is a disgrace. In effect it is asking people to ?vote? to put the pylons and substations somewhere else. This is a cynical ploy by National Grid to ?Divide and conquer? by putting one community against another.
8. The team of ?consultants? who attended the meeting in Marton on Tuesday 29th March 2011 were ill-informed about the local area, and the so-called ?investigation? into the alternative route with connection up to Ironbridge; I was told to look it up on the internet! I do not believe this is consultation, this is deflection of the responsibility of informing onto the informee, which, considering the implications that the National Grid?s decision will have on my home and its value, is an absolute disgrace.

Advice given

This project is currently at the 'pre-application' stage of our process, as set out in the Planning Act 2008. During the pre-application stage, there is a duty on the developer to undertake consultation with people living in the vicinity of the proposed project, and to have regard to responses to that consultation. In order for comments to be taken into account at this stage, comments and responses should be directed to National Grid as the developer of the project.
The IPC's role at the pre-application stage is to provide advice about the process of making an application, or the process of making a representation about an application. Whilst we are happy to be copied in on any comments you make to the developer, we are unable to provide legal opinions or comment on the merits of the scheme or national policy. This ensures the impartiality of the IPC and protects the interests of all parties involved in the application process. All advice that we give is recorded via an advice log, in line with s.51 of the Planning Act 2008. This log is published on our website. attachment 1
With the above in mind, may I therefore suggest that the queries set out in your email are raised directly with the promoter of the Mid Wales Connection scheme. The National Grid project team can be contacted on 0800 019 5325 or by email at national [email protected] There is also a project website;
attachment 2 .
Your local council also plays a role in the process at the pre-application stage and we would encourage you to copy to the council any comments you send to the developer at the pre-application stage. Further information on this and how you can be involved in the developers? consultation is detailed in advice note 8.2, this can be found at: attachment 3.
Once the pre-application consultation duties are complete, the developer may submit an application to the IPC. The IPC has 28 days to decide whether to accept the application to proceed to the examination stage. This decision is based on whether, amongst other matters, the pre-application consultation has been adequate. When making a decision on whether the pre-application consultation has been adequate, the IPC will have regard to:
National Grid?s consultation report;
Any comments on the adequacy of consultation submitted by relevant Local Authorities; and
The extent to which National Grid have followed the guidance published by the IPC and the Secretary of State.
If an application is accepted for examination by the Infrastructure Planning Commission, you will have the opportunity to become directly involved in the examination of an application. A suite of advice notes has been published providing information on how and when members of the public can become involved in the planning process and have their say. In particular, advice note 8.3 provides information on how to register and make a written representation. This can be found at: attachment 3.

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