Published: November 17, 2010
National Grid's re-think on Bristol Channel pylons plan welcomed

National Grid has this week confirmed that it is reconsidering burying its controversial new power lines under the Bristol Channel instead of running them across the countryside from Hinkley Point power station to Avonmouth.

Somerset County Council has received a letter from National Grid in which it confirms that it has begun a detailed study on all the various options, including subsea cables.

The announcement was welcomed on Wednesday by Cllr David Hall, the council's Cabinet Member responsible for nuclear power.

He told "All we were asking for was a consultation with people that was fair and that looked at all the options. Local people are unhappy and frustrated that they were presented with overhead cables and no other options. That wasn’t good enough and I’m delighted that National Grid has acknowledged this."

In a joint open letter to National Grid earlier this year, the leaders of all three political parties at Somerset County Council called for a detailed look at all the options of connecting the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

The leaders demanded that National Grid should stop their public consultation, look at all the options not just focussing on overhead power cables, and listen to the views of local residents who are opposed to huge pylons being built across some of the region's most attractive countryside.

Council Leader Ken Maddock, who sits on the Government's Nuclear Development Forum, added: "They will hopefully come back to us with new options in the New Year and we welcome that. They have got to get this important decision right."

Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Jill Shortland added: "The people of Somerset deserve a real opportunity to have a say on all the options. National Grid’s announcement that they are going to carry out a full appraisal is the outcome we were looking for."

And Labour Group Leader Cllr Andrew Govier said: "We understand National Grid has had thousands of resident responses to their consultation and this has no doubt given weight to their decision to reconsider the possibility of pylon alternatives."

National Grid had originally proposed building the power lines over the land, a distance of 37 miles. One of the proposed options, called Corridor 2, (shown on the map below) would have departed from the existing line of pylons and crossed the Somerset levels to the East of the M5 corridor.


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