Pylons to be Taken Down and Power Lines Buried in England and Wales
As part of reversing poor planning decisions by National Grid in erecting unsightly pylons (towers) in scenic locations in England and Wales, the energy regulator Ofgem is setting aside £500 million to bury high voltage cables, or screen them, or reroute them away from beauty spots.
Linda Williams, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said, “The pylons really are ugly.” The group welcomed the decision by Ofgem. CPRE campaigner Nick Clack said, “This is a really positive step in reducing the impact of existing overhead electricity lines in our most valued countryside. Given these welcome efforts to mitigate the impact of existing lines, National Grid needs to make sure it is doing all it can to reduce the impact of new ones. Close consultation and co-operation should be applied across all regulated industries so that landscape impacts arising from big infrastructure projects are properly considered and funding is provided at the outset.”
Following a consultant’s report which identifies the ugliest overhead lines, an advisory group will help to make the final decisions on which pylons and overhead lines will be removed. The group includes the CPRE, Campaign for National Parks, English Heritage, Natural England and the National Trust.
Based on an initial assessment of 571km of overhead transmission lines in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, contenders for early investment are sites in the New Forest, Brecon Beacons, the Peak District, Snowdonia, Dorset, the High Weald, the North Wessex Downs, and the Tamar Valley.
Meanwhile, National Grid is proposing to bury 8 miles of electricity transmission cable along the Meifod Valley as part of its proposed new high voltage line from Mid Wales to Shropshire, England.
Perhaps it’s time the electricity transmission companies in Alberta, the electricity operator (AESO), and the electricity regulator (AUC) visit the United Kingdom to see how progressive jurisdictions are beginning to address the negative visual impacts of overhead high voltage lines. Whatever additional capital expenditures might be spent burying these lines will be saved in reduced maintenance, transmission loss, health and adjacent property devaluation costs.
This blog is based, in part, on articles in: BBC, Tindle Newspapers Ltd., The Daily Mail, and Shropshire Star . See this link for more information on the many benefits of burying high voltage transmission lines.