We welcome efforts to reduce impacts of existing lines, but believe more needs to be done to reduce the effects of new lines.
Alongside other organisations, we previously called for a ‘A countryside friendly smart grid’ of pylons, which would make the best use of existing energy resources and avoid harm to our most important areas of countryside. We also jointly commissioned research into the costs of undergrounding high voltage cables, which helped convince the regulator, Ofgem, and National Grid to take forward work to reduce the visual impacts of existing lines in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).
Industry guidelines already say that overhead lines and substations should not be placed in National Parks, AONBs, heritage coasts or World Heritage Sites if possible. Yet there are already more than 500 km of overhead transmission lines in National Parks and AONBs. We support National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision project to reduce effects of existing lines. However, we believe it is better — financially and environmentally — to avoid impacts from new lines in the first place. More needs to be done to ensure this. We also believe there should be more research into effective methods of storing electricity.