North Wales Connection

Enquiry received via email

North Wales Connection

10 September 2018
Dr Marion Jones

Enquiry

I am writing with regard to the North Wales Connection project to express my deepest concern about the actual, potential and perceived negative impacts a second high voltage overhead power line will have on Anglesey. Constructing a second line from Wylfa to Pentir in addition to the existing one will create a ‘no go’ corridor dissecting this beautiful island, not to mention concerns about the adverse effects due to exposure to electro-magnetic pollution. In his scoping opinion the Secretary of State identifies issues that are of deep concern to the island population and also visitors who come to enjoy the natural beauty of Anglesey. They come to escape the industrial environments of Manchester, Liverpool and Warrington not to be confronted by unsightly overhead power cables and monster pylons. The negative visual impact will inevitably threaten the status of Anglesey as a popular tourist destination.
The precise route of the electricity transmission line and location of individual pylons have not been determined and it is therefore of critical importance to fully take into account the island’s opposition to an overhead line. If National Grid ignore the voice of the people directly affected by this project, history will repeat itself again, as so many times before. Over the past three hundred years or so, Wales has made a substantial contribution to the economy of the UK, be it through the extraction of mineral resources (e.g. slate, copper, coal) or the provision of water, and as a consequence has been left with a legacy of industrial pollution and extinction of culture. A second line of monster pylons would be another example. The electricity transported will benefit England, but Anglesey will have to bear the cost. This is grossly unfair and raises the question of equity across the four nations of the UK. For example, an approximately 33km long underground high voltage cable has been installed across the Wirral peninsula. Why can this not be a viable option for Anglesey? This island is unique in terms of its stunning coastline and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and we therefore have a moral duty to protect this precious asset against increasing industrialisation, not just for now, but for generations to come. Higher costs for the consumer must not be cited as a reason to go for the cheapest option, as many are willing to pay slightly more for their electricity if that means that jewels like Anglesey can be spared a second line of monster pylons.
The Scoping Report raises further issues. For example, in the section ‘Undergrounding cables’ 2.61 Para 2.4.14) it states that the ‘Preferred Route Corridor Report’ concluded that cables would be installed underground through the Anglesey AONB and across the Menai Strait, and yet, there is no further reference within the report to undergrounding within the Anglesey AONB and how users of the Anglesey Coastal Path might be affected. In Appendix 14.2 it is proposed that effects on house prices are scoped out for all components and all stages of the proposed development, as the existing line forms part of the existing baseline and should therefore be considered in that context. I fail to understand the logic of this argument, as two power lines, one even bigger than the first, obviously will have more than twice the negative visual impact.
Another issue relates to the National Grid’s lack of engagement with relevant stakeholders, in particular the Isle of Anglesey County Council and the island population. The role of the tourism sector must be fully recognised as well as the well-being of key natural and historic environment resources. They are crucial to maintain the area's status as a visitor destination. In this respect it is worrying that there is no reference made to: the AONB setting between Wylfa and Rhosgoch, the Mynydd Mechell Special Landscape Area (SLA) within the scoping corridor and the direct impact through the route alignment, Parciau SLA or the AONB setting, Maltraeth Marsh and the surrounding SLA, Southern Anglesey Estateland SLA, important woodlands, topography and the setting of Snowdonia National Park.
Undergrounding high voltage power lines has become the default position in other European Countries, as for example in Germany’s federal state of Bavaria where the people’s concerns have been taken seriously. When will National Grid listen to the people’s voice in Anglesey?

Advice given

Thank you for your email of 6 September 2018.
The North Wales Connection application was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate (the Inspectorate) on 7 September 2018. A decision whether the application should be accepted for Examination will be made by no later than Friday 5 October 2018.
As part of the acceptance process, the Inspectorate will request the relevant local authorities’ views on adequacy of the consultation. The local authorities should also take into account any comments made by stakeholders to them when they submit their comments on whether the developer has fulfilled its consultation duties. Comments relating to the adequacy of consultation will be taken into account when the Acceptance Inspector decides whether to accept the application for Examination.
Please note that this response relates solely to the comments you have made in relation to the applicant’s consultation; the remainder of your e-mail relates to the merits of the proposed development, which cannot be considered at this stage. Should the application be accepted by the Inspectorate for Examination, the applicant has a duty to notify the local community on how to register as an Interested Party. Comments relating to the merits of the application can be made at that stage.
The process under the Planning Act 2008 (PA 2008) has been designed to allow members of the public and statutory stakeholders to participate in the Examination of all DCO applications so that anyone interested in the proposed developments, their potential impacts and any relevant matters can be fully engaged in the Examination process.