Following years of CPRE lobbying, National Grid announced the locations of three sites in England that will benefit from funding to bury intrusive electricity lines and remove pylons. The announcement followed decisions by the project’s independently chaired Stakeholder Advisory Group, including CPRE’s Neil Sinden.
The chosen projects are near Dunford Bridge in the Peak District, near Winterbourne Abbas in the Dorset AONB and at Hale in the New Forest National Park.
The next 12 months will see detailed technical feasibility works which will include environmental studies, archaeological studies and engineering work ‘on the ground’. There will also be further significant engagement with local stakeholders and communities.
Hector Pearson, Visual Impact Provision Project Manager at National Grid said the project represented “a major opportunity to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife, cultural and environmental heritage of some Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks.”
The protected landscapes from an original ‘longlist’ that have not been prioritised include the High Weald AONB, North Wessex Downs AONB and the Tamar Valley AONB. These locations will remain under consideration for future work using the £500m fund.
National Grid is also set to use part of the fund for smaller, localised visual improvement projects which can be accessed by all AONBs and National Parks with existing National Grid electricity infrastructure. Set to be launched in the Winter, this landscape enhancement initiative will to provide up to £24 million over six years.
11th December 2015