National Grid has announced that it is to undertake a feasibility study to replace overhead electricity lines with tunnelled alternatives in areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) and National Parks.
The first four projects will focus on solutions for Winterbourne Abbas in Dorset, Hale in the New Forest National Park, Dunford Bridge in the Peak District National Park and Porthmadog in Snowdonia National Park.
The 12 month feasibility studies will look at options to reduce the visual impact of sections of high voltage overhead lines in these locations. National Grid has said that given the sensitive nature of these protected areas, replacing existing overhead lines with underground cables has generally proved to be the preferred option both technically and in discussion with local stakeholders.
“Reducing the visual impact of pylons and power lines in our most precious landscapes is highly desirable, but it is also very expensive and technically complex so we have had to make some difficult decisions,” said National Grid visual impact provision project manager Hector Pearson. “Although four schemes have been prioritised, none of the locations on our original shortlist have been dropped and they will remain under consideration for future work to reduce the impact of National Grid’s transmission lines under the Visual Impact Provision project.”
The protected landscapes that have not been prioritised are the Brecon Beacons National Park, High Weald AONB, North Wessex Downs AONB and the Tamar Valley AONB. These locations will remain under consideration for future work.