National Grid route decision – PWP press release

PWP issued the following press release on 17 June 2015:

FIGHT CONTINUES AGAINST GIANT PYLONS

A Cumbrian campaign group opposed to giant pylons has resolved to keep fighting in the wake of today’s announcement by National Grid. Power Without Pylons (PWP) greeted National Grid’s decision to pursue plans for an onshore overhead power transmission line with a pledge to do everything possible to reduce the damaging effects of 50–metre pylons in Lake District beauty spots.

National Grid have rejected the option to connect the proposed Moorside power station by burying cables under the sea, despite widespread support from organisations and individuals who responded to the recent consultation. They will now develop detailed plans to route high-voltage power lines through the Lake District National Park and the scenic Duddon Estuary.

The selected ‘Onshore south with tunnel’ option was National Grid’s stated ‘preferred option’ at the start of the consultation, yet the views of respondents to the consultation were mixed, with many expressing strong opposition to onshore connection.

Power Without Pylons will continue to press for the onshore decision to be reversed and emphasise that National Grid’s plans are yet to be agreed by the authorities.

PWP chair, Graham Pitts said: “The public should realise that this is not a done deal but simply one of many stages in a long and complex process. Today’s announcement has made us even more determined to fight to preserve the Lake District and I know we’re not alone in this.”

The group will maintain dialogue with National Grid and press for a range of mitigation measures to reduce the impact of pylons on landscapes, on local communities and on the tourist economy. “People can still have a big influence on the outcome and there’s no time to lose,” Mr Pitts commented. “There are many things to fight for including the avoidance of specific routes and taking power lines underground in particularly sensitive areas. We’re expecting PWP numbers to grow, as more people become aware of just where these pylons could go and how massive they will be.”

At the same time PWP will seek to challenge the reasons National Grid gave for rejecting the offshore solution. This could include making a written representation for the Planning Inspectorate to consider.

Following further consultations, National Grid are expected to submit an application to the Planning Inspectorate in April 2017. A decision on whether or not to grant consent to build the new connection is expected to be made in October 2018.

“We’re in this for the long haul,” Mr Pitts added. “National Grid will need to demonstrate that they have duly followed planning procedures, consulted fully and fairly, and properly considered all options and requests for mitigation. Ultimately, the decision lies with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.”

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