Welsh Conservatives have called on the First Minister to clarify his position on the National Grid’s recent announcement for mid Wales and explain why he has backtracked on previous statements against the proposals.
Carwyn Jones did not criticise, condemn or express any disapproval of this week’s publication of plans to build a substation and pylons in the region.
However, referring to wind farm development and speaking in June last year, Mr Jones said “the Welsh Government believes this level of development is unacceptable in view of its wider impacts on the local area." He went on to say “my government would not support the construction of large pylons in mid Wales”.
As recently as June, and in response to a Welsh Conservative oral question in the Senedd, Carwyn Jones claimed a government letter to chief planning officers remained the case and ‘was still correct’. The letter categorically stated that ‘there is no need for the large, visually intrusive, high voltage grid network infrastructure and associated substation of the kind proposed within Mid Wales.’
In a statement issued following the National Grid’s announcement this week, the government welcomed the publication, made reference to a ‘T’ tower pylon design and called the plans a ‘significant upgrade to the energy infrastructure of mid-Wales’.
Shadow Minister for Environment, Russell George AM, said:
“There is absolutely no reason for anyone in mid Wales to trust this First Minister.
“He has betrayed our communities and backtracked on his previous public statements of opposition.
“Rather than hide behind a government statement, it’s time for Carwyn Jones to lift his head from his trench and make his apparently revised views crystal clear to mid Wales.”
Mr George went on to dispute the government’s response to the National Grid announcement and reaffirm his own opposition to the proposals:
“These hideous plans will ruin large parts of mid Wales’ beautiful countryside and it is outrageous that the Welsh Government should suggest this project is needed to support economic development.
“This is ineffective spin that will not disguise the scarred landscape and wrecked communities that we are soon to become victim to.
“Communities will rightly question whether the First Minister has ever truly contested these plans and if this outcome was inevitable – despite his public political game playing.”