Residents demand National Grid axe 'hideous' pylons and go sub-sea
of concerned residents in the Burnham-On-Sea area last night demanded
National Grid bury its planned 400,000 volt power line under the
Bristol Channel instead of building huge pylons across the Somerset
was the conclusion at the end of a heated public debate held in
the village of Mark on Sunday evening, which was attended by over
80 local people, including MP Tessa Munt and Conservative parliamentary
candidate James Heappey.
Grid has proposed that its 34-mile power connection will stretch
between Hinkley Point and run past several villages near Burnham-On-Sea
than five miles of the route will run through the Mendip Hills
where the power line will be buried underground, but local residents
fear the overhead pylons would blot the landscape, cause health
issues and hit house prices.
meeting was held mid-way through National Grid's final round of
consultation, where the public can have their say about the controversial
Gregory, from Pylon-Moor-Pressure, said: "National Grid say
a sub-sea connection is too expensive and have dismissed it just
as quickly as they did when considering installing the pylons
along the M5 corridor in 2007, even though it was shown that just
37 properties would have been affected. When you consider the
impact that this current route would have to the Somerset Levels
it's just terrible. These would be industrial structures in the
middle of the countryside."
local resident Jane Walker added: "We should not have these
pylons here - they would be hideous and would destroy a beautiful
area. We need a united front against National Grid."
added that she feels the numerous rounds of public consultation
have been held by National Grid as a ploy to "dilute public
interest in the scheme and reduce the number of people voicing
local resident, Bruce Penrose, added: "Don't let National
Grid divide us - we should all be saying 'no, it's got to be sub-sea
all the way.'"
urged residents to begin a letter-writing campaign to National
Grid's Chief Executive, explaining: "He needs to receive
thousands of letters to feel the pain just as we do."
went on to question the real costs of the sub-sea power route.
Eileen Corkish, from Mark Parish Council, said the power firm
had said the overground route would cost around £13million,
while the underground cost had varied from £270million to
£78million most recently. She added that the sub-sea route
would cost £1.3billion.
Munt told the meeting she feels the "sub-sea costs have never
been backed up with evidence from National Grid" and she
added that she would like to see this in more detail.
resident Mike Taylor added: "We must be pushing for undergrounding,
but I feel the decision is all about profit - National Grid just
want the cheapest route possible. It's just sheer greed."
Heappey, right, urged residents to lobby the government on the
matter. "The only way we'll change National Grid's mind here
is by getting a change to the policy at a national level."
explained: "I would urge residents to support Liam Fox's
amendment to the Energy Bill which currently is awaiting a second
reading in the Lords. The amendment would change the Holford Rules
that give National Grid a very effective umbrella to shield them
from whatever criticisms arise during consultation. Those rules
are, in my opinion, outdated."
Holford Rules guide their decision-making on the routing of transmission
lines. Letters to Ed Davey, Michael Fallon and Owen Patterson
are very important as there are all sorts of hurdles at which
Dr Fox's amendment could fall. If the law is not changed through
Parliament, then it will require one of these ministers to issue
a policy statement that influences the Holcroft Rules to the same
resident raised concerns about the health impacts of the proposed
400,000 volt pylons given their close proximity to homes. Eileen
Corkish responded that National Grid "had been totally tied
up in knots" when addressing health questions during its
latest consultation session and that more clarity is needed.
Munt quoted examples of cases where adverse health affects had
been found between pylons and leukemia in Iran and Alzheimer's
campaigners also said that the vague wording of National Grid's
documents and diagrams showing the relative height of the T-pylon
against the old-style lattice pylon that National Grid uses for
such a high-voltage line means that many residents believe that
the T-pylon is lower than the existing Western Power line and
so they are no longer concerned about the effect on visual amenity.
Gregory from Pylon-Moor-Pressure said: "This is not the case.
The T-pylon is 9 metres higher than the Western Power line. I
have pointed out to National Grid that their consultation material
is unclear and asked them to restart this important exercise.
They need to issue revised material which clearly demonstrates
the scale of the T-pylon in relation to the existing line and
in relation to the enormous lattice pylon which they would otherwise
use. That may be as high as 50 metres. Only then can people make
a judgement on the scale of this infrastructure. National Grid
has refused to do so."
also queried during the meeting whether alternative routes are
still being considered by National Grid and also discussed concerns
regarding construction traffic routes and additional scrutiny
of National Grid.
Munt and James Heappey both agreed with residents that a sub-sea
route is the only palatable option.
MP told Burnham-On-Sea.com afterwards: "I'm pleased to see
local people are fired-up over this issue. The meeting showed
that the sub-sea route is the route preferred. National Grid have
been 'tin-eared' so far - they have been in transmit mode, not
receive mode - and they need to listen to the feedback on this
very important issue."
were urged to send their feedback to National Grid during its
consultation period, which lasts until the end of October.