Let's talk about the pylons - next National Grid forum at Backwell School

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By Carol_Deacon | Friday, April 27, 2012, 15:13

Lots of official looking people with clipboards, luminous jackets and hard hats seen surveying the landscape between Nailsea and Tickenham looking at the proposed pylons route.

Well maybe not lots but I have seen at least three but the pressure is still on by local protest groups to stop the countryside around Nailsea being scarred by massive overland pylons. 

The National Grid Local Community Forum next meeting is on Thursday, May 10, from 7-9pm at Backwell School.

Anyone representing interested groups of five or more people from North Somerset can attend this Local Community Forum by registering at National Grid website by clicking HERE.

Currently only two people and a handful of councillors represent residents of Nailsea. 

Nailsea Action Against Pylons spokesman Fiona Erleigh said: "As all 20,000 of us will be affected by Nailsea Moor becoming an industrial landscape, it would be good to have more views represented at the Local Community Forum."

The purpose of the forum is to discuss the specific alignment of the overhead route with some possibility of undergrounding. 

Mrs Erleigh said: "The campaign for the whole line to be laid underground or undersea continues although not at these forum meetings.

"This requires a change to the rules governing National Grid which are set by government and Ofgem. 

"However we can and must keep pressuring National Grid that communities just don't want new pylons.

"I look forward to seeing some of you there."

The Infrastructure Planning Committee recently looked at the cost of various options of installing a new 400,000-volt power line between Avonmouth and Hinkley Point nuclear power station.

It was told overhead lines were the cheapest option, costing between £2.2 and £4.2million per kilometre against underground cables of between £10.2 million to £24.1 million per kilometre.

And going underwater along the Bristol Channel would cost between £13.1 million and £31.8 million per kilometre.

These findings will be used by the IPC when it considers National Grid's planning application for the new line.

The preferred route for the new line, which would mainly follow the route of an existing 132,000-volt line passing the western side of Nailsea – was announced last September by National Grid, which said it would consider putting cables underground 'if the economies were right'.

At the initial public consultations on the Hinkley C Connection in autumn 2009, National Grid quoted underground cables to be 12-17 times more expensive than overhead lines.  

In this report, the relative lifetime costs show undergrounding being only four to six times more expensive.  

That says Nailsea district and town councillor Jan Barber equates to adding a few pence annually to household energy bills.

Mrs Barber said: "What it boils down to is a cost of only 30p per household per year to underground as opposed to ugly pylons spoiling our countryside.

"Let's hope that we can convince National Grid to underground."

And North Somerset MP Liam Fox said: "Together with local groups, we continue to pressure National Grid to provide us with an environmentally acceptable solution to the problems created by Hinkley C. 

"We have made a lot of progress but intend to press for further concessions."

Mrs Erleigh said: "This significant drop from approximately 15 times to just five times, making underground cables much more affordable.  

"It leads us to wonder how much further this ratio will drop as underground cables get ever cheaper with increased production, in the same way the cost of flat screen TVs have tumbled." 

The IET report agrees 'the conclusions are clearly given at this point in time, and cannot reliably be projected far into the future as technological developments could reduce some elements of the costs'.

Some 55 per cent of the 750km of planned high voltage power lines in Europe will be laid underground.  

Denmark has gone further and said that 100 per cent of new lines will go underground and National Grid will be undergrounding a new power line in Lincolnshire in its entirety.

Mrs Erleigh added: "The 30p is a trivial cost to preserve our landscape for future generations, to bury the blight of giant pylons and remove the fear of negative impacts on the health and homes of our communities in North Somerset."

NAAP is the group formed to combine the forces of the anti-pylon campaign groups Save Our Valley and Save Nailsea West with members of Nailsea Town Council and Wraxall Parish Council.

Apart from scarring the landscape and the affect on local property prices what many people are under estimating is the sheer height of the new pylons, say NAAP.   

NAAP is one of the campaign groups representing the interest of local communities along the proposed Hinkley C Connection route who together form the Somerset Alliance Against Pylons.

To read the IET report in full click HERE



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