Published: December 14, 2013
MPs in fresh call for new power lines to be buried in the Burnham area

Burnham-On-Sea's MP Tessa Munt and North Somerset MP Liam Fox have held top-level talks with Energy Minister Michael Fallon this week regarding calls for controversial proposed power pylons to be buried underground.

Ms Munt and Dr Fox discussed their concerns about National Grid's approach to using alternatives to carry a 400,000 volt power connection between Hinkley Point and Avonmouth.

Despite calls for the line to be buried underground, National Grid has announced that the 37-mile power line will run overground through the Burnham area.

It comes as the company is expected to submit a formal application in Spring 2014 to request the construction of the pylons.

Tessa said: "Whenever I have pressed National Grid, I have been told time and time again that placing cables undersea is not an option – the company says it just can't be done. Meanwhile we can all see this happening around the rest of the UK and it is standard practice for companies in Europe."

"I made the Minister aware that residents and businesspeople in my patch want the 6.15 miles of pylons and cables planned for this part of Somerset to be buried – whether that is undersea or underground."

"I expressed dismay and disappointment that National Grid’s final consultation was inaccurate – it failed to show the 'sealing end compounds' to the south of my patch, which means that if undergrounding was used, the cables could be buried continuously from the Mendip Hills to Bridgwater."

Tessa also pointed out that whilst Environmental Impact Assessments are quite rightly complex documents showing the effect of changes on the environment, National Grid is compelled to carry out a Social Impact Assessment, but little guidance exists to show what that documentation should reveal.

"Liam Fox made the point that in his 20 years as an MP, National Grid had been the most difficult and frustrating of companies to deal with. I am hopeful that Michael Fallon will insist that common sense prevails."

Pictured: Tessa Munt with Paul Hipwell from the campaign group No Moor Pylons


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