The National Grid says the new electricity route will  not harm landscape as shorter T-pylons will be used

National Grid says electricity route won't harm landscape

National Grid has unveiled plans to build a new 400,000 volt electricity connection in the south-west of England using innovative pylons to prevent spoiling the landscape.

Part of the new route, crossing the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, will be completely buried underground, leaving the landscape free from pylons for the first time in 40 years.

An additional 90 pylons will completely disappear from the Somerset landscape, National Grid said.

For the over-ground part of the route, new, shorter T-pylons will be used, limiting the effects on the scenery. The new 35m-tall T-pylons are a third shorter than traditional lattice pylons.

"Over the past four years we have listened to what the public has told us and this has played a big part in how we've developed our plans,” said Peter Bryant, senior project manager at the National Grid.

"We know people are concerned about the connection's impact on the landscape,” he said, explaining the company tried to find balance between the public’s interests and the project’s costs.

"Based on what people have told us and the guidelines we have to follow, we believe we have the balance right but now we're asking people to come along to our consultation events and tell us what they think.”

The company has distributed information leaflets to more than 40,000 properties between Bridgewater and Avonmouth. The residents now have until the end of October to view the draft proposals at a series of exhibitions across the area.

The proposed route will carry power from the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point and other new sources of energy planned in the region.

However, the anti-pylon groups consider the information provided by the National Grid insufficient and would like to see more of the route being built underground. They believe that, as the Hinkley C power station project is currently not moving forward, the company should take more time to refine the plans.

"We can't understand why National Grid is rushing ahead with this connection scheme. There is no timetable for the power plant,” said Paul Hipwell, from No Moor Pylons. "If they stopped and took a breath they could take account of other technologies that exist or are emerging," he said.

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