As the first stage of the Green Gen Cymru consultation came to an end on Friday 28 April, local Plaid Cymru politicians reiterated their opposition to the proposed 60-mile pylon route through the Towy valley. 

Earlier this year, Green Gen Cymru announced proposals for a new 132kV double-circuit overhead line, supported on steel pylons, between a substation on the Nant Mithil Energy Park in the Radnor Forest area and a new substation, to be developed by National Grid, on the existing 400kV transmission line near Llandyfaelog, between Carmarthen and Pont Abraham. 

Several community groups have since been established to oppose the proposed pylons, together with criticism from local County Councillors and Senedd Members.  

As part of the consultation process which ran from 6 March 2023 to 28 April, Green Gen Cymru held a series of public meetings at locations along the proposed route, including at Builth Wells, Llandeilo and Llandovery – with hundreds of local residents attending to learn more about the proposals.  

Plaid Cymru politicians Adam Price MS and Cefin Campbell MS and Jonathan Edwards MP have led on calls for the proposed pylon route to be undergrounded – with an online petition launched by the party gaining over 3,000 signatories.  

Calls for undergrounding of the route have also been supported by Plaid Cymru’s Carmarthenshire County Council leader, Darren Price, together with a unanimous vote by Carmarthenshire county councillors opposing the proposed pylon route.  

Adam Price, Plaid Cymru Senedd Member for Carmarthen East & Dinefwr said: "The sheer volume of correspondence received by my office on this matter indicates clearly the strength of feeling here in the Towy Valley.

"Hundreds of emails, letters and phone calls have come in, almost unanimously echoing many of the concerns myself and other Plaid politicians have expressed. 

"The petition we have launched pressing for undergrounding of this proposed network has gained over 3,000 signatures in electronic signatures alone - this is before we consider the numerous signatures collected by community and county councillors located along the constituency. 

"The message at all levels - from Senedd, to County Council, to Community Council, to the public response is clear: This area cannot be used as an easy solution for a company in the name of profit, and the cables must be undergrounded.

"The heritage of this valley must be protected, and we as a party completely oppose the proposals put forward as they currently stand." 

Cllr Darren Price, Plaid Cymru Leader on Carmarthenshire County Council added:  “In our response to the consultation, Carmarthenshire Council has made it clear that whilst we are committed to tackling the impacts of climate change, we are unequivocal in our opposition to Green Gen’s plans for the use of pylons and overhead lines along the Towy Valley. These lines must be undergrounded. 

"We have made it clear that the Towy Valley holds a special place in the hearts of thousands of people living and working within Carmarthenshire and we wish to protect, preserve and enhance the outstanding beauty and features of the landscape, its biodiversity and its economy based directly and indirectly on agriculture and tourism.”

Green GEN Cymru, part of the Bute Energy Group, have confirmed they will be publishing a report summarizing the feedback received in this round of consultation and how this has influenced their proposals.

They will then carry out a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment and hold further public consultation, so that residents can provide their views on the detailed route alignment.  

A spokesperson for Bute Energy said the pylons will reduce pressure on the existing electricity grid, support green businesses and enable green heating and the roll out of electric vehicles across rural Wales.

The company said the plan could see energy produced for 200,000 homes.

It says that it wants to "power Wales with clean green energy, and empower local communities through investment, jobs and skills".

Bute Energy say all feedback received will be carefully considered, along with reports from environmental and technical surveys, ahead of further public consultation.

The company was also asking for suggestions on delivering a Community Benefit Fund to communities on the route.