The Holford Rules

Just for interest here are the Holford Rules – drawn up after a spate of pylon line erection last century. They are meant to guide the selection of route and siting of pylons. An article commenting on them and their applicability to this route by our Chairman.

See how many you think are contravened in the proposed route south from Moorside to Barrow. You can post your thoughts on our Facebook page – search for powerwithoutpylons

Holford Rules
1. Avoid altogether, if possible, the major areas of highest amenity value, by so planning the general route of the line in the first place, even if the total mileage is somewhat increased in consequence.
2. Avoid smaller areas of high amenity value or scientific interest, by deviation; provided that this can be done without using too many angle towers (i.e. the more massive structures which are used when lines change direction).
3. Other things being equal, choose the most direct line, with no sharp changes of direction and thus fewer angle towers.
4. Choose tree and hill backgrounds in preference to sky background wherever possible and when the line has to cross a ridge, secure this opaque background as long as possible and cross obliquely when a dip in the ridge provides an opportunity. Where it does not, cross directly, preferably between belts of trees.
5. Prefer moderately open valleys with woods, where the apparent height of the towers will be reduced and views of the line will be broken by trees.
6. In country which is flat and sparsely planted, keep the higher voltage lines as far as possible independent of smaller lines, converging routes, distribution lines and other masts, wires and cables so as to avoid a concatenation or ‘wirescape’.
7. Approach urban areas through industrial zones where they exist and where pleasant residential and recreational land intervenes between the approach line and substation, go carefully into the costs of undergrounding, for lines other than those of the highest voltage.

This pylon route will be here for the rest of this century. Once erected in a National Park it will set a precedent. We need to take time to think and come up with the least intrusive option.

“I know rules are there to be broken, but you have got to be joking!”. One view of each Holford rule may be:

  1. Avoid altogether the Lake District National Park. Go Offshore.
  2. Avoid Ravenglass existing World Heritage Status by rerouting or underground or other technology. Avoid numerous SSIs by deviating, but do not worry if that makes them closer to places where people actually live.
  3. Where is direct in this landscape? Just a few stretches of half a dozen existing pylons. Lakes, mountains and a narrow coastal strip south in which we have to travel, work, live and visitors come to play. Not suitable.
  4. The main road route will have these pylons silhouetted by the sea not hills. The rail route will see these poking above the peaks of the mountains. I do not know of many trees that are going to reach 50m+ in a few years. The landscape from Ravenglass to Silecroft has about 7 trees (well alright a bit of an exaggeration) as the area is where the fells sweep down to the sea – unique to the nation.
  5. We are talking about a narrow coastal strip. Not achievable. The one “wide valley” is the Duddon Estuary with stunning views of the Coniston hill and the range leading to Black Combe – the existing pylons intrude into this view from the main road, the proposed ones will obliterate any view. Avoid all this by a tunnel under the Duddon a la Morecambe Bay.
  6. Have you seen the Lindal in Furness T junction between the village and the zoo? Wirescape Central.
  7. The approach to Barrow in Furness is through the greenest route near lots of little villages that people would quite like to live in when they move into the area for all the jobs this, Moorside, VSEL, Glaxo and other projects will generate. The industrial route into Barrow in Furness already has a pylon route.

Why is National Grid not pushing research into normal temperature superconductors for cables? Did we not invent this field of science? Will they not have near zero transmission loss, no heat radiation, be slim and suitable for burying easily? Not just here, I add, but throughout the county, country, nation and the world.

Dare I suggest that the cables could be made in this country and exported? Dare I suggest that we could build a factory to make the cable in this area – I suggest “made in Millom” like the wire factory. That would be an innovative, ingenious idea reflecting our Victorian forebears who would have had a forward thinking, risk taking and rewarding attitude.