Published: May 17, 2011
Burnham's MP says pylon plans have hurt World Heritage hopes

Burnham-On-Sea's MP has told parliament this week that proposals to build a controversial line of power pylons across the Somerset Levels will ruin the area's chances of becoming a World Heritage Site.

Tessa Munt, pictured, said the planned 37-mile stretch of pylons from the proposed new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point to a new sub-station near Bristol had hurt the prospects for the heritage status, which could have attracted more visitors to the area.

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.

Ms Munt told fellow MPs in the House Of Commons: "I place on record the fact that the chief executive of National Grid has admitted that he said at a meeting nearly two years ago that putting cables underground was 'a no brainer'."

"At a public meeting in Somerset, National Grid admitted that it was likely to cost only £1 per household per year to put cables underground for Hinkley Point and other connections."

"The Minister will also know that in rural Somerset, we have the levels, the moors, and the rolling Mendip hills."

"Part of the land in my constituency is an area of outstanding natural beauty, and there are many sites of special scientific interest."

"A great deal of the land on the levels is under higher-level stewardship, and the farmers there attract European funding and assistance for the way that they keep that land and the environmental benefits that it provides to the community generally."

"We also had a potential world heritage site; it would have been the 17th in the world, but that prospect seems to have disappeared into the ether, mainly because of the threat of what will happen to that land due to the transmission of electricity."

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