12, 2012 Council
says controversial pylons will follow a 'reasonable
District Council is to tell National Grid that its draft route
for a controversial new high voltage power line between Bridgwater
and Avonmouth is "generally following a reasonable route"
but that more work needs to be done on its design and on considering
The comments follow a special full council meeting in Bridgwater
on Tuesday (December 11th) which discussed a detailed report from
officers and consultants who had studied the latest draft proposals
for the connection which will involve taking down an existing
overhead line and replacing it with fewer but bigger pylons.
Grid recently announced
the draft route for the controversial 400,000 volt power connection.
A five-mile section of the route will go under the Mendip Hills,
but the line will still use pylons through the Burnham area.
officers' report found that as far as the plan for Sedgemoor was
concerned, it appeared consistence with the relevant National
The report added that there were specific areas of concern and
that further work was required in finding and assessing existing
and further options, in developing the design and in deciding
the start of the meeting, councillors heard from representatives
of several parish councils near Burnham-On-Sea including Mark,
Badgworth, Biddisham and Compton Bishop, and groups who oppose
the use of pylons near properties and across open countryside.
All nine speakers wanted National Grid to consider alternatives
to overhead lines.
Councillors also had a presentation from officers on the project
and its implications for the district.
number of councillors echoed the feelings from the public that
pylons would blight the landscape and asked the council to urge
National Grid to look again at new technology and alternative
routes including sub-sea.
pointed out the considerable challenge posed by putting cables
under the Somerset Levels and Moors because of the complexity
and number of water courses.
Members voted to support the recommendation from officers that
a response to National Grid on its latest consultation be made
by officers - in conjunction with the council leader, opposition
leader and two portfolio holders - based on the report presented
and comments made by the Council.
They added amendments asking that National Grid should
be urged to consider options other than overhead lines.
The response is to National Grids latest detailed proposals
and its final application is not expected to go to the Planning
Inspectorate until late 2013. There will be a period of formal
consultation followed by a full public examination.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Anne Fraser, portfolio holder
for Strategy and Business, told Burnham-On-Sea.com that the council
would continue to work closely with National Grid to ensure that
the new infrastructure needed to provide secure, reliable energy
to peoples homes was planned in a way that took account
of the concerns of local communities as far as possible.
"We recognise that Sedgemoor has a key role to play in keeping
the countrys lights on but we are ever mindful of making
sure this is done in a way that bring advantages to us too and
reduces negative impacts to the minimum," she said.