National Grid brings in consultants

PUBLISHED: 13:00 23 November 2010

Archant

NATIONAL Grid has called in independent consultants to analyse the option of routing a huge power line planned for North Somerset and Somerset underground or under the Severn Estuary.

The energy giant is carrying out a detailed appraisal into the work it has carried out to assess the different system options for the 400,000 volt line.

If allowed to go ahead as first planned, the 37-mile power line will be routed over ground from the site of a new power station at Hinkley C to a substation in Avonmouth, passing many towns and villages including Yatton, Banwell, Rooksbridge and Loxton .

However, the idea of 150ft pylons dominating the countryside caused uproar in the community and led to calls for the line to be put under ground or under the Severn Estuary.

National Grid has said these options would be too costly and impractical.

Now, after numerous rounds of public consultation, the company is working with the Institute of Engineering and Technology to ensure that their assessment of all the options, including installing overhead pylons, has taken account of all technical, environmental, socio-economic considerations and whole-life costs.

When complete, the appraisal will be available to be reviewed by local authorities and will be posted on the project website www.hinkleyconnection.co.uk

Campaign groups have been buoyed by the announcement of the independent appraisal.

Paul Hipwell, chairman of No Moor Pylons, which represents people living from Loxton to Woolavington, said: “We have maintained all along that National Grid’s cost estimates for undersea transmission were totally unrealistic, we are delighted that at last after months of campaigning independent experts will now be brought in to examine the costs.”

Somerset County Council’s cabinet member responsible for nuclear power, David Hall, said: “All we were asking for was a consultation with people that was fair and that looked at all the options.

“Local people are unhappy and frustrated that they were presented with overhead cables and no other options.

“That wasn’t good enough and I’m delighted that National Grid has acknowledged this.”

National Grid is also continuing to analyse the large number of responses it received during consultation and is expected to announce in Spring next year what option has been chosen.

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