Published: July 6, 2011
Burnham MP's pylons bill clears first hurdle in House of Commons

Burnham-On-Sea's MP spoke in parliament on Tuesday (July 5th) about controversial plans to build a long line of new power pylons across Somerset.

Tessa Munt - who has been campaigning against plans by National Grid to construct a 37 mile stretch of pylons from the proposed new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point to a new sub-station near Bristol - led the debate on the Protection of Landscapes Bill.

The bill presented by Tessa got through its first reading unopposed and a second reading will be held on 25th November.

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 close to Burnham-On-Sea. Local residents have been campaigning for the power line to go under the Bristol Channel instead of overground.

The Protection of Landscapes Bill seeks to update the 1989 Electricity Act and reduce the impact of electricity transmission on the UK's landscape. The Bill seeks to ensure that factors other than cost are considered in deciding which option to choose, that local communities are not just consulted but their views are taken into account, and that underground or undersea transmission is used in the countryside as it is already done in towns and cities.

Paul Hipwell, Chairman of campaign group No Moor Pylons, told "This bill being passed is real democracy in action. It's our MPs listening to their constituents and taking action and is a victory for common sense."

"It'sbrilliant to see MPs from every political party and from across the country, England, Scotland and Wales all supporting this bill. With the widespread support we are confident the Bill will progress to law, protect our countryside and leave a legacy for the next generation we can all be proud of."

Tessa Munt made clear in Parliament that this is not a cost issue, even National Grid have said that the cost of putting electricity transmission underground or undersea will increase electricity bills by less than 1%.

But she said it is a health issue, with growing evidence of the effect of overhead power cables on people's health. She added that it is also an environmental issue, with the Somerset levels a potential world heritage site until this proposal came forward.


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