Final power line consultation begins
PUBLISHED: 11:52 03 September 2013 | UPDATED: 11:52 03 September 2013
NATIONAL Grid has been accused of failing to listen to the views of Somerset people as a final consultation on its plans for a huge new power line begins this week.
The energy giant has been working for four years on a project to create a 37-mile, 400,000 volt power line set to cross a vast swathe of the area.
It is needed to connect a planned new nuclear power station near Bridgwater with a substation at Avonmouth.
Today (Tues), National Grid revealed its latest proposals for the line which could see a 35m high T-pylon used along much of the route which is a third shorter than a traditional lattice pylon.
From now until October 29, the public has the chance to have one final say on National Grid’s proposals before final plans are submitted to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate. If approved, the line could be completed by 2019.
At the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Beauty, the company is proposing taking down the existing 132,000 volt overhead line and placing the 400,000 volt cables underground.
However, campaigners believe National Grid should still consider placing the whole length of the 400,000 volt connection underground.
Maggie Gregory of Pylon Moor Pressure said: “They [Somerset people] fully understand that burying the power cables will cost more but it’s a price they are willing to pay to protect our countryside for future generations to enjoy.”
They also believe the energy giant is rushing into a decision when progress on the creation of the new nuclear power station has ‘stalled’.
Paul Hipwell of No Moor Pylons said: “Although the Government approved the Hinkley C power station project in March, no agreement has been reached with the developers and progress has now stalled.
“We don’t understand why National Grid is rushing ahead with this connection scheme.
“If they stopped and took a breath they could take account of other technologies that exist or are emerging.”
The current round of consultation, which will include a number of exhibitions, will allow people to see how the new power line could look against the landscape with a computer ‘fly-through’ video.
National Grid’s senior project manager Peter Bryant said: “We know people are concerned about the connection’s impact on the landscape.
“We have tried to strike the right balance between reducing this and being mindful of the cost that ends up on everyone’s bills from all our connection projects from around the country.”
* More details about the consultation events are available online at www.hinkleyconnection.co.uk and also in local libraries.