Mid Wales Electricity Connection (N Grid)
I am writing to complain about the National Grid Consultation Feedback form concerning the proposed Mid Wales connection from the proposed wind-farms to the main grid in Shropshire.
National grid have informed us that they intend to construct a 19 acre sub-station and from there take a 400kv distribution into Shropshire on pylons 47 metres in height. They have indicated two sites for the sub station and numerous corridor routes for the distribution lines. One route runs down the upper Vyrnwy river valley and one down the upper Severn valley. Both valleys are areas of great natural beauty interspersed with villages, hamlets and containing an abundance of wildlife. This has caused enormous consternation and dismay in these localities for we can see that these most rural areas will be ruined by the proposals which are of a major industrial scale and completely unknown before.
Section 1 of the form invites those affected by the three options for the substation sitings. We have attended a number of local meetings and spoken widely to people and there is no one, not surprisingly, who wishes to have a substation of this size with equipment at a height of 12 metres on their doorstep. This would be a massive piece of industrialisation adjoining the rural residential villages of Cefn Coch or Abermule. National Grid in setting out these options has not given us the option that we all want to express, that is that we do not wish to see a substation in either of these two places. They are clearly attempting two strategies. One is to cause division between the Vyrnwy valley and the Severn valley communities so as to weaken our joint determination to fight the proposals. The other is to confuse the unwary or less astute into feeling that they have to conform to the way the questions are set and not to do so would invalidate their response.
Section 2 invites comments on the route corridors. This assumes, following from Section 1, that those affected wish to make a choice based on National Grid?s routes from their choice of substation sitings. There is no box to allow an indication that none of these routes is preferred or to indicate that an alternative route might be preferred.
Section 3 gives us three boxes to indicate which of the ten items are of most importance. In terms of anyone living on these routes at least seven would be of the most fundamental long term importance. It is clear from comments from those living within the proposed pylon corridors in Shropshire that they have not been consulted at all, although they will be just as affected as the two river valleys in Wales. The distance of these corridors in Shropshire is around 10-12 kilometres and the routes pass by or over several large villages.
We have written to National Grid to formally complain about the way this form has been presented and we are hoping that you will give our concerns your prompt attention and consideration.
The National Grid Mid Wales Connections 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, the approach you have taken in contacting the promoter is appropriate at this stage. For reference, 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 Commission. The Commission 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 Commission 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 Commission and the Secretary of State.
If an application is accepted for examination by the Infrastructure Planning Commission, you are able 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