Pylons a 'huge tourism threat' to Shropshire


Emily Davies

A POPULAR tourism destination in Shropshire is urging firms to get behind the battle to prevent windfarms being built in Mid Wales, with extensive pylons coming across the border into Shropshire.

The British Ironwork Centre (BIC) are yet to receive any assurances from National Grid regarding their plans and Clive Knowles, BIC managing director, says suggestion of pylons across his land would offer a direct threat to the future of Shropshire’s first sculpture park.

The sculpture park, based at the BIC in Aston, near Oswestry, has already attracted a huge level of interest from the public and sculptors alike, with many high-profile artists loaning their valuable and internationally-recognised exhibits. 

BIC spokesman Kenny Anthonisz said: “We are already attracting a huge number of parties of all ages who are enjoying our many attractions including our Sculpture Park, Museum of Steel Sculpture and Interactive Workshop experiences. Many exciting plans are in progress – we are shortly to unveil our latest attraction, a falconry centre. 

“We appeal to the people of Oswestry to join us should we need to take direct action in opposing these plans. We are working hard to provide tourism opportunities and work actively to promote tourism in the town. 

“We are deeply concerned about the impact on the Centre, our town and county should these worrying plans proceed.” 

Mr Anthonisz added: “If any worried local residents are unable to give us their support in person at our demonstrations, we would urge them to write to National Grid and to North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson to voice their concerns. It is imperative that we let them know of the strength of opposition to their plans. 

“Why spoil a resource that has so much to offer to the town and county?” 

The controversial plans could see windfarms built in Llanbadarn Fynydd, near Llandrindod Wells; Llaithddu, near Newtown; Llandinam, near Llanidloes; Llanbrynmair, near Machynlleth; Carnedd Wen, near Machynlleth, with a 132kV overhead electric line connection from a Llandinam windfarm to the Welshpool substation.

The plans, which would include pylons to link the turbines to the network in Shropshire, are subject to a public inquiry.

In April this year an expert report looked at the economic impact of windfarms and electricity infrastructure on the tourism industry.

It said “tourism displacement” which has happened in other countries is “likely to be the case."

Russell George, Montgomeryshire AM, has long campaigned against the plans. 

In response to the report he said: “As I suspected, pylons and onshore windfarms do have a negative impact on the tourism industry."

Clive Knowles is urging more Shropshire tourism businesses to fight the proposals, which he claims would be “a complete disaster for tourism in Shropshire”.

He said: “We need to fight hard before it’s too late. We must act now.”

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