Published:
January 19, 2016
Burnham's MP attacks 'devastating' decision over Hinkley Point pylons

Campaigners have reacted with dismay to the news that the government has APPROVED a controversial row of overhead power lines across part of Somerset.

The lines of 35-metre high pylons will stretch from the proposed Hinkley Point C power station near Burnham-On-Sea to Avonmouth.

Although a small section through the Mendips will be underground, protesters wanted the entire route to be buried under the Bristol Channel but the higher cost has led to this being ruled out.

Paul Hipwell, Chairman of the protest group No Moor Pylons, said: "I'm so sad. There are going to be 50ft high pylons marching across the countryside. This is something our children are going to have to look at for the next hundred years."

"We can transmit electricity under ground. It's such a shame they've gone with 1950s technology and didn't have the courage to do what was right for the next generation."

National Grid plans to build the power line between Hinkley Point and Avonmouth, stretching through 34 miles of Somerset countryside and coming close to the villages of Mark, East Huntspill and Rooksbridge in the Burnham area.

Burnham-On-Sea's MP James Heappey, pictured, said: "This is a devastating decision that is utterly at odds with the views of local people. Of course Hinkley C is an important piece of national infrastructure and of course it must be plugged in to the national grid but, in my view, there was never sufficient debate over whether to go underground or under the sea."

"Throughout, it has simply been the cost of going under the sea that has been seen as the barrier. However, the cost of that technology is reducing all the time as it is being widely employed in interconnection projects and in the Western Link between Scotland and North West England. We could and should have directed that it be used for this project too."

"Thousands of Somerset residents have participated in the consultation and then then public enquiry; packed village halls along the route of the line cannot have left National Grid nor the Planning Inspector in any doubt at just how unwanted these pylons are. I pay tribute to those who were involved in the fight from the very beginning – regardless of today’s decision, parish councillors and campaigners along the route have served their communities unstintingly."

"There is now a short period in which to consider the merits of a Judicial Review but this is not a straightforward process and the chances of success are slim. I hope to meet with parish and district councillors in the coming days to discuss that option."

The expected £500 million budget for the work will be funded through levies on customers’ energy bills, adding an estimated 22 pence per year to a typical household's bill.

 


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