Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The prospect of pylons....

I make no apologies for my love of this landscape - counting each day I spend under clear and unpolluted skies amongst these gently rolling hills, part of a companionable farming community,  as a bonus. Some days my heart just soars with the joy of simply Being. Being here. Soppy perhaps, but no apologies. I tell you the truth. That's how it is.

Then from out of the blue - like an arrow to the heart - comes the proposal to run a power corridor through the Rea Valley to join the wind farms which clutter the Welsh uplands with an existing heavy duty national transmission network between Shrewsbury and Wrexham. Apparently it is just that at present, a proposal. The National Grid are currently carrying out 'a consultation' between two options - there are a choice of 2 routes.  The one which affects the us (aka the Purple South corridor) also involves the construction of a sub-station about 6 miles away at Abermule - and we are not talking about some wires and a few small grey boxes behind an itsy fence here - we're talking 19 acres of full-on electrical horror. It will be a similar story for the other proposed route. It looks as if it's blighted here.....or blighted there.

The power could go underground or, most probably, take an overland route and be carried by pylons; monstrous pylons that are 50m tall and spaced at 350m intervals. The 'artist's impression' below shows how our landscape could be transformed by these monsters as the pass across the front of Stockton wood and over the roof of the Lowfield Inn. Awful. Awful. Awful.


Right at the top my header picture looks down on Marton from the Long Mountain. Marton lies in the path of this proposed Purple South Corrior. Just imagine a string of pylons running across the middle of this picture to see what there is to lose. It's a ghastly image that could be repeated the length of the valley.

The Rea Valley is an unsullied place of gently undulating arable land, bounded to the west by the slopes of the Long Mountain and to the east by the Stiperstones and Shropshire Hills - a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Small villages, Westbury, Worthen, Broxton, Aston Piggot and Aston Rogers and Marton are strung like beads on a necklace along the B road which winds its way along the valley bottom. To the west are Asterley, Pontesbury and Minsterley and perched on the hill, Snailbeach and Stiperstones - add to the mix numerous small hamlets and outlying farms. Stand anywhere and it would be hard not to be in awe of this splendid landscape.
It's a green place in spring - hedges of hazel, frothy hawthorn and twining honeysuckle, verges of primroses, stitchwort and violet line narrow lanes and tracks. And lambs. And bird song. And blossom. The gold of summer's harvest becomes russet as the valley's many trees turn orange then red. Autumn brings brown ploughland. Hardly inspiring, but each thing in its turn.) Winter brings a strange melancholy when fog hugs the valley bottom - exhilaration too when an exquisite hoar frost catches morning's first light.

I could give you statistics about flora and fauna - we have that in abundance. Listed buildings and historic sites - yep, we have those too, aplenty.
It seems to me to be the least appropriate place to route pylons - a brainless proposition. We are being 'consulted' by the the National Grid - whose information bus manned by articulate unemotional young people towing the party line but telling us little we want to hear - will visit all the communities who may be affected. We will stare sadly at the maps and look up to the hills. We will all fill in our consultation feed back forms.

We will certainly sign the 'No Pylons in Rea Valley' petition organised locally. If you feel this issue will affect you please visit www.nopylonsinreavalley.co.uk and add your voice to the protest. This is not something to be taken lying down. There is opposition and there will continue to be opposition. My hackles have risen.

I pray that this consultation process is actually meaningful and not just a rubber stamping exercise. Cynic? Moi?

18 comments:

Zoƫ said...

God how awful. We fought for 12 long years and won, or so we thought, to prevent them building on ag land, King John's Drove, an ancient byway that King John took when he left Odiham Castle to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede. An SSSI was in the planned development too. How we rejoiced when the government ministers agreed with all the experts, English Nature, and so on. Then along came Ruth Kelly, and said ' she was minded to overturn the decision' They are now on the process of building 200 houses on this spot, more than doubling the population of the Hamlet I live in at Phoenix Green. Nothing is sacred to them. Fight and fight and fight, I so hope you win xx

rachel said...

Only too familiar here, sadly, and such a blight on beautiful landscapes. There is usually a powerful financial argument offered about why it has to be pylons, not underground cabling. Fight the fight, mountainear! And keep us posted.

Chris Stovell said...

I'm truly sorry to hear this and know only too well what it's like to lose a view you love and to watch the landscape being scarred. All best wishes for your fight.

Ivy said...

sad really , but what are the alternatives?

Nikki-ann said...

I don't see why the electricity from these wind farms needs to be transfered into the National Grid. Can it not be used to power LOCAL homes?

Our valleys have already been flooded so that others can have water and now they want to blight the rest of our beautiful countryside with those monstrous pylons! Why not turn the whole of Mid Wales into a powerhouse of water & electricity for the rest of the country... Wait, that's exactly what's happening!

I actually don't mind the wind turbines, but I'm not having those great, big, ugly pylons blighting out beautiful countryside! And I shudder to even thing about that 19 acre sub-station!

Pondside said...

I'd heard about this from Jane - so sorry to think about it.
We have a horrible run of the towers in our hills. We can't see them from our house, but the hydro cut (which is what we call the corridors) is wide and like a scar on the hills. Once all the native forest was hacked down, every sort of invasive plant took root and now it is a botanist's nightmare.
I hope you are able to rally the entire community against this.

Fennie said...

Power to your elbow! Maybe the drama group could be involved. Seems a bit over the top for a few turbines, doesn't it? Archeology, of course will stop anything. Show that there are Neolithic sites along the route and there are such sites just about everywhere, or Roman, or Saxon, or Llewellyn or Glyndwr battlefields. Spot where Hotspur challenged him to summon up spirits from the vasty deep etc. Archeology will kill anything.

Preseli Mags said...

Good luck with the fight against this folly. I wonder if these things happen in Wales and the borders because there are fewer people here to kick up a fuss?

Jayne said...

So it looks like i will be moving away from, residents against motorway widening and racecourse development to pylons, does it ever stop.
Let me know and i will protest with you where ever i can.

Kirsty.a said...

Fight Fight Fight!!!

elizabethm said...

Oh no. I can't believe it. What a dreadful proposal. I don't know whether to rage or cry.

Frances said...

Oh, I do not like the sound of this at all. Are these landscape ruining pylons being planned for construction all over the countryside? It is the only alternative energy tech available?

Do you think that enough (whatever number that actually is) folks hate the idea enough to keep the pressure on? That's always the tough part. Folks complain, but don't turn up again and again, to get their "views" heard. Keep us posted. xo

Cro Magnon said...

These things should AUTOMATICALLY be placed underground. What on earth is the point of the government forking out cash to preserve 'Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty' if they then go and bugger it up!

Do as we do here; take to the streets.

Wipso said...

Just a quickie to say thanks for your kind comments. It's manic here today trying to catch up from yesterday...I've already shortened 5 pair trousers, a lined skirt, 2 tops and a pair of curtains!!! Just doing my best to clear my work cos DD is coming out for more TLC today. Just want her to feel better now :-(
Hugs and lots of thanks for caring,
A x

rainymountain said...

Yes the power cables should go underground which apart from aesthetically more pleasing is also more 'green'. It might be worthwhile costing out pylons against underground cables. Pylons use non-renewable materials and energy to make and maintain.

Bluestocking Mum said...

Oh my goodness. oh my goodness. I cannot think of anything worse - how monstrous. Good luck with the fight if it comes to that. And I'll come along and chain myself to the railings of anywhere with you if you need me!

xx

snailbeachshepherdess said...

went to the meeting at Westbury today - heaving! Purple South indeed. We have just won the battle to keep the village loos, the school is next, then the church and now pylons - ....Next???

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Huge areas in Scotland are scarred by these ghastly things too .
I'll sign !!