James Evans has asked for assurance that the visual impact of proposed wind turbines and pylons in Powys will be "taken seriously" in planning considerations.

Renewable energy developer Bute Energy last week revealed consultation plans for two wind farms.

Aberedw Energy Park would be built on the top of Aberedw Hill, east of Builth Wells, with the site spanning 1307 hectares.

The Bryn Gilwern Energy Park would be built about 3km south-east of Llandrindod Wells and extends to 1309 hectares.

The sites would have 34 wind turbines in total, with a maximum height of 220m at Bryn Gilwern and 200m at Aberedw.

The release of the plans has now sparked a consultation process.

This first consultation will run until December 20 2023, with community drop-in sessions set to be held to allow local people to view information on the proposals and have their say.

At the Senedd this week, Mr Evans questioned Minister for Climate Change Julie James MS on Planning Policy Wales and the presumption for grid cables to go underground where possible.

The Brecon and Radnorshire MS asked the Minister for assurances that the visual impact will be taken seriously and that it will be a key part of the planning consideration on electricity infrastructure in Wales.

This relates to plans for a 60-mile pylon route through the heart of Mid Wales, to connect multiple energy parks.  

“Visual impact is a key planning consideration when looking at these proposals,” Mr Evans told the Minister.

“So, a lot of constituents ask me what assurances can the Welsh Government give to my constituents back in Brecon and Radnorshire that the Welsh Government will take visual impact seriously and make it a key part of the planning considerations on developments of national significance on electricity infrastructure here in Wales?"

In her response, Ms James said: “It is our presumption that things should be underground where possible, for all of the reasons that you've just set out.

“Where that's not possible, then work needs to be done with the local community about routes and so on, and the planning application would have to show good reason why it needed a particular set of infrastructures and why the transmission arrangements were as they were in order to get anywhere in the planning process.”

Speaking after the Senedd session, Mr Evans said: "I urge everyone to have their say in this consultation process and make your views known.

"The scale of the developments in our area are on an industrial scale and will have an enormous impact on the landscape, on tourism, on farming and on the everyday lives of communities.

"I asked the Minister for assurances that the visual impact will be taken seriously in the planning considerations, and I will continue my calls for the 60-mile transmission route to be underground in line with Planning Policy Wales."

"As a development of national significance, it will be Welsh Ministers having the final say on these proposals and I will ensure that I give voice to the communities affected and raise this at every opportunity in the Senedd."

Three public exhibitions will be held in the area over the next fortnight for the Aberedw and Bryn Gilwern Energy Parks.

The first is on Thursday, November 23, 2.30pm - 6.30pm in The Strand Hall in Builth Wells, the second is on Friday, November 24, 10.30am - 2.30pm, in Penybont & District Community Centre and the third is on Wednesday, November 29, from 12 midday - 4pm, at the Media Resource Centre (MRC) in Llandrindod Wells.

Information can also be viewed, and feedback given, on the project websites: www.aberedwenergypark.wales and www.bryngilwernenergypark.wales