Campaigners fighting a proposed line of giant pylons across the Somerset countryside are celebrating news that National Grid has scrapped a similar plan in Lincolnshire.
A crucial independent report into the comparative costs of overground and underground high power cables commissioned by the Department for Climate Change is due to be published tomorrow.
The National Grid has repeatedly ruled out an underground route for the 400,00 volt power lines which will be needed to take electricity from the proposed new Hinkley C power station to a substation south of Avonmouth. It has said that it would be 17 times more expensive to put cables underground.
Paul Hipwell from the campaign group No Moor Pylons said yesterday: “At last the tide is turning and common sense is prevailing. National Grid has decided that pylons are unacceptable to the people of Lincolnshire.
"They now need to decide that pylons are equally unacceptable in Somerset. They should halt their plans to build pylons across the beautiful Somerset countryside now.”
Tessa Munt, MP for Wells, said: “I await the release of the long overdue report into the costs of undergrounding. The Minister has always been clear – the cost of undergrounding must be balanced with the environmental and social costs and the latter are crucial to the success of Somerset’s leisure and tourism industries.
"Looking to Europe, underground cables are being used more than pylons (700 km underground compared with 450 km of new pylons). The Irish Government’s recent Independent Report says the costs of underground cables and pylons are about the same, depending on local factors.
“I’m very pleased that National Grid has seen the sense of cancelling its pylon plans for Lincolnshire. I believe the landscape in Somerset is equally precious, so undergrounding the cables on the whole of the route through Somerset is the obvious alternative to these 152 foot high monsters.”