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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

National Grid announces draft route for Hinkley Connection

National Grid announces draft route for Hinkley Connection

  • Removal of existing power line would mean around 95 fewer pylons in the area overall
  • Connection to go underground through the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Views of local people helped shape many of the details of the proposals

National Grid has announced the draft route for the new 400,000 volt power connection between Bridgwater and Seabank near Avonmouth.  This has followed nearly three years of planning and listening to the views of local people and experts.  It puts a line on the map for the connection needed for the new Hinkley Point C power station and other low carbon electricity generation planned for the South West.

The new connection will mean that an existing 132,000 volt line between Bridgwater and Avonmouth can be taken down.  In addition a number of other shorter sections of 132,000 volt line will be removed to enable construction of the new line.  In total National Grid expects there to be a reduction in the number of pylons between Bridgwater and Avonmouth from 240 to 145.    We will consult on our detailed proposals in 2013, and anticipate that we will be able to include the T-Pylon in this consultation.

The special importance of the landscape in the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was strongly backed by local views during the consultation.  Here, the connection will go underground for more than eight kilometres (nearly five miles).  

Once the existing 132,000 volt line has been removed, a new substation will be needed in the Sandford area to make sure Weston-super-Mare and Churchill continue to receive a safe and reliable electricity supply.

Over the next decade, the country must make the major investment needed to deliver energy security.  This project is just one step towards meeting National Grid’s challenge to modernise and extend the country’s existing energy infrastructure to ensure reliable power supplies for the future and help meet the UK’s carbon reduction targets.                                      

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," Bryant continued.

Among other examples of how local views have helped to shape National Grid’s proposals:

  • The route through Mark will use a gap that is further away from properties and Mark Church of England VC First School than the existing overhead line.
  • In addition, the existing overhead line above Avonmouth Church of England Primary School will be removed.
  • Residents of Nailsea raised concerns about the two existing power lines near their homes.  In response, both lines will be dismantled and the new line will be further away from the houses.  The second existing 132,000 volt overhead line will be placed underground.  This will remove existing power lines that currently cross people’s gardens in Nailsea.     

Feedback from local communities has directly affected consideration of National Grid’s proposals which represent a balance between the cost of the connection, which passes through to all consumers in their bills, and minimising the impact on the local environment.

More information about the draft route can be found on the project website at:  Residents can also visit National Grid’s community information hubs in Bridgwater, Congresbury, Nailsea and Avonmouth during November and December to find out more about the project.

Later next year, after careful consideration of feedback on the draft route, National Grid will consult on more detailed proposals before making a formal application for consent to construct the connection.  Ultimately, Government will make a decision based on a recommendation made by the Planning Inspectorate.

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