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Pylon route announced

by mikebell on 18 October, 2011

THE route a huge power line will take through the countryside of Somerset and North Somerset has been announced.

National Grid plans to install the 400,000 volt line to carry energy from a planned new nuclear power station at Bridgwater to a substation near Avonmouth.

The route the cables, along with 150ft high pylons, will take has been a highly controversial issue, with many people calling for the line to be put underground.

Residents were asked to chose between two corridors of land to show which route they would prefer the line to follow and, today, National Grid has announced its decision following two years of consultation.

The energy giant has said it will use corridor one, option 1A, for the majority of the route.

This will pass to the west of Nailsea, near Tickenham, and will see the existing 132,000 volt overhead line, owned by Western Power Distribution, replaced with the 400,000 volt line.

In certain places, however, corridor two was favoured and this will be used in two places: at the north end between Tickenham Ridge and Portishead and at the south end near Bridgwater.

Option 1A was favoured by most out of the 8,000 responses National Grid received during consultation.

If corridor two had been chosen, this would have seen the line pass to the east of Nailsea, near Backwell, and would have been an entirely new route not currently used by any other power lines.

Following today’s announcement, National Grid will continue to work with key stakeholders to carry out environmental surveys and to consider where undergrounding and other mitigating measures, such as tree planting and landscaping, may be suitable.

Further consultation will take place in 2012 and will examine route options and the design and location of a new substation.

National Grid senior project manager Peter Bryant said: “Now we have chosen our preferred corridor we need to look carefully at the type of technology we will use.

“In their feedback many people told us they wanted the cables put underground and as we continue our consultation, we anticipate that the final plans will include some undergrounding as well as overhead lines.

“We want to work with local communities and landowners to lessen the impact of any new infrastructure and we will consider areas where mitigation measures such as woodland planting, placing cables underground or the use of lower height pylons might be appropriate.

“Further feedback during the next stage of consultation is important to us, and we hope people will continue to be involved.”

Now the decision has been announced, 37,000 households in the affected region will receive a newsletter outlining the decision.

National Grid will eventually consult on a final draft proposal along with the outcome of an environmental assessment, before submitting a formal consent application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission or its successor. This application is expected to be made in 2013.

Despite National Grid choosing the route corridor preferred by most respondents, the energy giant has been accused of ignoring the residents’ views by the leader of North Somerset’s Liberal Democrat group, Mike Bell.

He said: “The consultation by National Grid has been a sham. They have ignored the views of 8,000 people, ignored Members of Parliament and ignored local councils. No genuine look at putting the cables under water or under ground, just a further attempt to railroad through their choice.

“We will be looking to work with campaign groups, residents, parish councils and others in continuing to fight against this plan. This is not the end of the road and National Grid must be made to think again.”

As part of the next stage of consultation, National Grid has relaunched its project website at www.nationalgrid.com/hinkleyconnection

People wishing to give feedback on the project can also email hinkleyconnection@uk.ngrid.com, call freephone 0800 377 7347 or write to the freepost address at Freepost H POINT CONNECTION.

 Reproduced from the Weston and Somerset Mercury

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