Published: February 22, 2010
Burnham-On-Sea MP joins local MPs in attack on pylons scheme

Three West Country MPs, including Burnham-On-Sea's David Heathcoat-Amory, have this week joined forces to step up their attack on plans to build a long line of huge electrcity pylons across the Somerset countryside.

The trio have submitted a joint paper on the National Policy Statements governing electricity transmission.

Mr David Heathcoat-Amory, Dr Liam Fox (Woodspring) and John Penrose (Weston-super-Mare) are demanding that policy statements are debated in Parliament before being adopted.

The MPs also want the final planning decision to be taken by a Government minister and not the "unelected and unaccountable" Infrastructure Planning Commission.

National Grid's proposals for a new 400,000 volt line from Hinkley Point to Avonmouth, past Burnham-On-Sea, will be judged on these policy statements when they have been debated.

The three MPs, whose constituencies cover most of the area over which the line would run, oppose the current plans.

They are particularly critical about the absence of a submarine cable option under the Bristol Channel and the lack of a commitment to place land cables underground in environmentally sensitive areas.

They have also called for a thorough assessment of alternative technologies, including lifetime costs and transmission losses, and they want stricter rules governing pylons in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) when crossing flat landscapes.

Health risks, security concerns, and pylon design, and the problem of property blight, are also covered in their submission. first reported last September how National Grid wanted to connect a proposed new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point to a new sub-station near Bristol, a distance of 37 miles.

Two controversial potential 'route corridors' for the 400,000 volt, 46.5m tall pylons have been identified, with one running through East Huntspill, Watchfield, Mark and Bason Bridge.

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