Plans to reduce the visual impact of electricity infrastructure in nationally protected landscapes across England and Wales are gaining momentum
The National Grid has announced its shortlist of 12 sections of high voltage lines in eight Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks as having the most significant landscape and visual impact, following an independent study overseen by leading landscape expert Professor Carys Swanwick.
The study assessed 571 km of National Grid’s electricity transmission lines in England and Wales’s most treasured landscapes. It forms part of the Visual Impact Provision project, a major initiative to reduce the visual impact of existing transmission lines in protected areas.
The project will make use of a £500 million allowance made available by Ofgem until 2021.
The protected landscapes that have been selected as having existing power lines with the most significant visual impact are:
– Brecon Beacons National Park
– Dorset AONB
– High Weald AONB
– New Forest National Park
– North Wessex Downs AONB
– Peak District National Park
– Snowdonia National Park
– Tamar Valley AONB
National Grid will use part of the £500 million allowance National Grid to mitigate the visual impact of sections of high-voltage overhead lines in some of these locations. A range of engineering measures could be implemented, including the replacement of existing overhead lines with underground cables, the re-routing and screening from key public viewpoints of the lines.
George Mayhew, National Grid representative on the project Stakeholder Advisory Group, said, ‘National Grid’s electricity network is vital to our way of life, but this project will help reduce its impact on some of our most treasured landscapes. At the heart of the project is collaboration between National Grid, those organisations tasked with protecting Britain’s treasured areas and the people who live in and visit these landscapes.’
National Grid will also use part of the £500 million allocation for smaller localised visual improvement projects which can be accessed by all AONBs and National Parks with existing National Grid electricity infrastructure.