National Grid Tackling Ugly Pylon Problem

In early November, National Grid announced plans to move many of the electricity pylons that plague some of the UK and Wale’s most beautiful and pristine areas of natural beauty. The pylons that were assessed cover about 571km, though only the most unsightly pylons are currently under consideration to be moved. The lines will be relocated, disguised by newly planted woods, buried underground, or torn down altogether.

Areas Affected

A total of 30 areas of outstanding natural beauty and national parks have pylons, but only the eight areas that are most impacted are on a short list of sites being considered. These include the following:

  • Snowdonia
  • Brecon Beacons
  • Dorset
  • Tamar Valley
  • New Forest
  • High Weald
  • North Wessex Downs
  • Peak District

Within a year, current feasibility studies will be finished, and that information will allow planners to cut the short list to a final list. However, there are pylons that are already being fast-tracked for movement because of the negative visual impact they have on their respective areas. The 4km of pylons in Tamar Valley are an excellent example. The Peak District’s Woodhead Pass has 12km of pylons, and that area is on the fast track as well.

Supporters and Participants

Organisations including Natural England, Campaign to Protect Rural Wales, Campaign for National Parks, the National Trust, and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), are part of an advisory group working closely with National Grid to plan the project. The goal is to ensure that as little environmental damage is done as possible. While it is important to remedy the blight created by the 1950s and 1960s-era pylons, it’s also critical to ensure that the solution doesn’t cause more harm.

How Much Will it Cost?

Moving the pylons underground will require a 50-metre wide by two-metre deep trench, and obstacles such as archaeological sites, could pose obstacles. So, the bulk of the project’s £500m price tag will cover the cost of moving the pylons underground, at about £20m to £22m per kilometre. The pylon lines themselves will be about £2m.

Who’s Paying for It?

The cost for the mammoth pylon project will be picked up by consumers through their electricity bills.  Fortunately, it won’t be all at once, however. The charge will be spread out over the next eight years. That figure translates to roughly 22p per year per bill.

No Planned Service Interruptions

During the year long project, National Grid indicates there will be no planned interruption in the availability of electricity. So, should you experience a residential or commercial electricity outage that doesn’t seem to impact your neighbours, contact DPG Plus LTD, and we’ll send a member of our team to your site to address the matter.

Even with all of the pylon movement, National Grid continues with its current plans to add more transmission lines through 2021. However, they promise that the lack of weight given to visual aesthetics when the troublesome pylons were placed in the 50’s and 60’s will not be repeated. 

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