Published: November 6, 2012
Reaction to decision that Hinkley power line won't run underground

Campaigners in the Burnham-On-Sea area say they are disappointed that National Grid has announced it will not bury the whole of its 37-mile power connection running between Hinkley Point and Avonmouth.

National Grid has announced the draft route for the controversial 400,000 volt power connection. A five-mile section of the route will go underground in the Mendip Hills, but the line will use overhead pylons when it goes through the Burnham area.

MP Tessa Munt said: "I am disappointed that National Grid has elected to bury only a small fraction of the line, through the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - and has chosen not to hear the responses of more than 8,000 people and many organisations who called on the company to bury its cables through our beautiful Somerset landscape."

"National Grid's own independent research shows 80% of its customers are willing to pay extra on their power bills to bury cables underground. National Grid is on the record confirming that the cost of burying the entire route from Bridgwater to Avonmouth would be less than 75p per year - on household energy bills. This is simply not good enough."

"This morning I met with the Energy Minister and the Secretary of State to discuss this matter and I will be raising this with Steve Holliday, Chief Executive of National Grid when I meet him on Thursday. An organisation with the resources of National Grid should be able to assess the value of Somerset's tourism and leisure businesses - on which the local economy depends, and make sensitive and appropriate decisions after hearing what local people think."

Paul Hipwell from campaign group No Moor Pylons said: "People in Somerset fully understand that burying power cables will cost more, but it’s a price they are very willing to pay to protect the beautiful Somerset countryside for future generations to enjoy. National Grid should take note of its own research and recognise that people are willing to pay to protect the countryside. National Grid has consistently said it would cost too much to underground the cables and people would not be willing to pay. Now their own report refutes these claims – National Grid should listen to what customers are saying and bury the entire route."

Sedgemoor District Council Leader, Cllr Duncan McGinty, said: "We now need to digest the information thoroughly and come to a view on the implications for our area. We understand that the final scheme will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by National Grid at the end of next year and we are keen to work with Grid to make sure we get the infrastructure that is so desperately needed for a secure energy supply with as little negative impact on our local communities as possible."

MP John Penrose said: "This is great news for everyone who lives in and visits the Mendip Hill Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. If these whopping great pylons had gone ahead we'd have damaged some of our finest countryside. I’m absolutely delighted that a combination of local pressure and good sense have won through. I would like to thank everybody who helped us campaign over the years, and National Grid for listening properly too. It shows the impact a small community can make when it bands together."

Peter Bryant, National Grid Senior Project Manager, said: "We’ve been very keen to listen to the views of local people, for example on the importance of the Mendip Hills where we now plan to use underground cables. We’re very pleased that the new connection will take up to 95 pylons out of the landscape. We understand people have concerns about overhead lines, but where they are used, we will work hard to reduce any visual effects by routeing the line carefully and using appropriate pylon designs, which could include the new T-Pylon."


Watch a video explaining the route of the power pylons

The announcement on the route

The full route map can be seen here


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