A public meeting was held by the Llandeilo Community Group Against Pylonshttps://www.facebook.com/groups/547149890903495 on Saturday 22nd June. The first half of the meeting was an information session. The second half of the meeting was a ‘Pylon Hustings‘ attended by five of the eight candidates standing for the UK Parliamentary Constituency of Caerfyrddin/Carmarthen. Will Beasely (Green Party), Nancy Cole (WEP) and Nicholas Beckett (Lib Dems), were unable to attend. The meeting was chaired by Jenny Chryss, Chairman of the Re-Think campaign group.

The earlier part of the meeting gave people the opportunity to look at maps, including an interactive one, of the pylon route and how they may be affected, videos of cable ploughing in action and selection of material about the environmental impact on the valley and surrounding areas should the scheme go ahead. Havard Hughes gave a presentation on the ‘Future of the Tywi Valley‘ which touched on the campaign to make the Tywi Valley an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The ‘Pylon Hustings’ drew a large audience all wanting to know how the candidates would respond to questions about the pylon route, Green GEN/Bute’s inexperience in running any major infrastructure projects and the ongoing debate about the investment by the Wales Pension Partnership in Bute Energy. Additionally, the topic of the Plaid motion in the Senedd a couple of weeks ago was raised. This proposed a presumption in favour of under grounding except in exceptional circumstances. None of the Labour members voted for it. Audience members wanted to know why. The campaign for the AONB was another question to the candidates, which, while all were broadly supportive of, Ann Davies (Plaid) commented on the farming communities’ concern about this and its impact on developing farms in the future.

All the parties agreed that if a pylon line has be built down the Tywi Valley then undergrounding with cable ploughing technology is the preferred option and they unanimously agreed that should they win the election, they would pushing for this solution. There is still a good deal of debate about the cost of this versus pylons, particularly in relation to landowner compensation. It is hoped that an independent review of this will produce some facts that give a realistic comparison of the two approaches.

The consensus from all candidates was the the Tywi Valley/mid Wales needs to be protected from the onslaught of developers who see it as an opportunity to make profit for their shareholders but offer no benefit to Wales and its communities, but how this translates in to action once whoever wins is in post, will be interesting to see.

Who won the debate? Well according to one of the attendees, ‘...the winner was a tie – between our impressive organisers and the audience’. It was a huge achievement for the group. As someone said, the road to the actual planning stage is a long one. Events like this, certainly help in the fight to keep the issue in the minds of the public.

One thought on “‘Pylon Hustings’ at Llandeilo Civic Hall, June 22nd

  1. This was certainly a worthwhile event and well attended by the public. It’s a great shame that three of the candidates were unable to take part.

    However, I did not feel that any of the candidates present acquitted themselves particularly well. The response to many questions consisted largely of stock phrases and a certain amount of evasion – perhaps this is to be expected. Conversely there were many members of the audience who appeared to have a greater and more in depth understanding of the real issues at stake than was apparent from the candidates.

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