Wylfa Newydd B: Plan submitted for pylons across Anglesey

Media caption,
Richard Foxhall of Horizon said Anglesey has the experience to deal with nuclear power

Controversial plans to build a second line of pylons across Anglesey linking to a new nuclear power station has moved a step closer.

The National Grid has applied to the Planning Inspectorate for permission to build them over the island.

Anglesey council wants the cables to be underground, with one councillor saying legal action could be considered.

Lines would carry power from the proposed Wylfa Newydd reactor to homes and businesses across the UK.

It is hoped the £12bn plant will be operational by 2020, running for about 60 years and generating enough electricity to power five million houses.

However, the move to build a second line of cables has been strongly opposed by councillors who claim it could affect tourism on the island.

While the company behind the new facility, Horizon Nuclear Power, is still possibly 18 months away from getting the final go-ahead to build, it has permission to start clearing the site ready for the work to start.

The National Grid said it had made changes to its application based on feedback from locals and it wanted to place a second line of pylons close to the existing line with a tunnel to carry power under the Menai Strait and on to the mainland in Gwynedd.

Councillor Carwyn Jones, Anglesey council's portfolio holder for major developments, said: "The technology is there to go subsea, to go underground, but, no, they will not listen to the people of Anglesey.

"We could well take this to the highest level of legal testing," he said, referring to the Well-being of Future Generations Act, a law created to protect the nation's future.

"They have put pylons and profit ahead of local view and opinion and it's extremely disappointing."

Image source, Horizon
Image caption,
Wylfa Newydd would operate for 60 years if a permit is granted for its operation

Gareth Williams of the National Grid said: "We recognise that we have not been able to do everything we have been asked.

"But we believe our proposals offer the best balance of everything we must consider and mean there are no long-term effects for most areas of Anglesey and north Gwynedd.

"Our application is an important step in unlocking many millions of pounds of local investment and around 9,000 construction jobs that the power station will create."

The changes include selecting a route corridor in the centre of Anglesey that avoids building near the coast and avoiding larger towns and villages.

During its consultation, it received 5,000 pieces of feedback.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The power station would be built on the site of the original Wylfa Nuclear power station which was decommissioned in 2015

After a meeting in December 2016, Anglesey councillors unanimously urged the National Grid to put "people before pylons".

Councillors argued that scrapping the current plan was the only way to protect tourism - worth £280m to the economy - and avoid "severe social and environmental impacts" on communities.

Council leader Ieuan Williams said the plans for more pylons "threatens to break the economic backbone of Anglesey - tourism".

Image caption,
The Menai Strait cable will take five years to build and will carry power to the Welsh mainland