Published: January 1, 2010
Burnham-On-Sea Lib Dem attacks MP over pylons opposition

A row has broken out in Burnham-On-Sea over controversial plans to build a new line of 150ft tall electricity pylons across the Somerset countryside.

Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Tessa Munt has expressed her "deep disappointment" that MP David Heathcoat-Amory did not bring up the matter when he spoke in parliament last week.

She says he made a "half-hearted party political point" rather than focus on the local issue of National Grid's plans to build the controversial line through Somerset.

She told "Had I been your local MP, I would have used every opportunity available to publicise National Grid's flawed consultation process, the numerous reasons why this company should be made to give local people a real choice backed up with real information, and I'd have demanded the Prime Minister make National Grid explain its outright dismissal of other options such as the undersea and underground routes. I'd have called on the Prime Minister and his Energy Secretary, Ed Miliband, to intervene on behalf of the people of Somerset."

"I was dismayed to learn that at the last Prime Minister’s Questions of this session, of this year and of the decade, and just three days after our MP attended a second packed village meeting, having met almost 500 concerned local people, he missed a great opportunity to bring an important local issue to the attention of the national audience – preferring instead to engage in the traditional 'yah boo' politics in Westminster."

"I just cannot believe he failed to take the opportunity granted to him to hold the Government to account over its part in National Grid’s appalling pylon proposals for Somerset."

"Mr Heathcoat-Amory chose to accuse the Government of introducing a financial responsibility bill as a gimmick, asking about the punishment for MPs who don’t meet the standards set. Whatever the rights and wrongs of his question, his point was, inevitably, dismissed by the Government." first reported last September how National Grid wants to connect a proposed new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point to a new sub-station near Bristol - a distance of 37 miles. Two 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.

First stage public consultation by National Grid on the controversial proposals will end on January 4th. Residents have until then to submit their feedback.

Burnham's MP last month backed the launch of new protest group, Pylon Moor Pressure, as reported here and he has also attended several public meetings regarding the issue in Mark and Wedmore.

Mr Heathcoat-Amory also raised the pylons matter in parliament on December 7th when he quizzed Edward Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, over the matter.

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