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Lake district power line to go underground

24 October 2016

National Grid looks set to spare the Lake District National Park from the prospect of 50 metre tall pylons being built through 24km of the park.

As part of its North West Coast Connections project, National Grid plans to run 400kV cables around the west of Cumbria from Carlisle in the north to Heysham in the south to provide connections from the proposed Moorside power station to the electricity grid.

It has now confirmed that it plans to look at putting 23.4km (14.5 miles) of new line underground through the entire western section of the Lake District National Park. This could also see the existing lines there being removed completely, leaving this part of the park free of pylons for the first time in 50 years.

Landscape protection charity Friends of the Lake District has been running a national campaign to stop the construction of pylons within the Lake District and has welcomed the news.

Douglas Chalmers, Chief Executive at Friends of the Lake District said,

“We have fought a long and well-supported campaign to stop these giant pylons being built within the Lake District National Park and we’re delighted that the stunning landscape within the park has been spared from a line of 50 metre tall pylons.

“National Grid should be congratulated for listening to public opinion and respecting the designation of national park status which affords the Lake District landscape the highest level of protection in the UK.”

Kim Hagen, Senior Energy Campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said,

“It's brilliant news that National Grid proposes to underground all of the planned cables through the National Park. This would be a great victory for one of our most cherished landscapes.

“It would mean the character and beauty of the Lake District is protected for generations to come. Let's hope this sets new standards for the future.”

 

National Grid is still proposing to erect pylons along a 14 km section of the southern route running close to the national park boundary which has raised some significant concerns about their impact on some additional parts of the west coast that do not enjoy the protection afforded by national park status, but contribute to the setting of the Lake District’s landscapes.

Douglas Chalmers, Chief Executive at Friends of the Lake District said,

“We are still worried about areas on the west coast which fall outside of the national park boundaries where National Grid is still proposing pylons as the solution for connection. We feel that the Duddon Valley and other visually sensitive areas of the coastline south of the Moorside development site should also be considered for undergrounding.

“We will be asking National Grid to extend its plans for undergrounding to protect additional areas of outstanding landscape lying within the setting of the national park.”

Ruth Bradshaw, Campaign for National Parks, said,

“We are pleased that National Grid has listened to concerns about the way in which this new line could blight the special landscape of the Lake District and is now proposing to underground 23.4km of the route through the Park. There is still some way to go before final decisions are made on this project and we will be urging National Grid to give further thought to the need to reduce the visual impact of the scheme just outside the Park boundaries.

"It is essential that all future decisions on this line take full account of the additional protection afforded National Parks so that people can enjoy this beautiful area without the intrusion of wires and pylons."

National Grid’s proposals are being consulted on between 28 October 2016 and 6 January 2017. The company aims to submit an application for consent to build the new connection to the Planning Inspectorate in 2017. A decision will then be made by the Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. If consent is granted, construction work is expected to start in 2019. National Grid is currently contracted to provide NuGen with the first phase of the connection into its transmission network by 2024.

 

ENDS

 

For more information contact Friends of the Lake District Communications Officers: Dawn Groundsell This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Chris James This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 01539 720788.

About Friends of the Lake District

Friends of the Lake District is the only membership organisation dedicated to protecting and enhancing Cumbria's landscapes. Friends of the Lake District represents CPRE in Cumbria.

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