Key Issues

Visual Impact

Pylon Size

The new pylons would be HUGE!

Many people will not be aware of the dimensions and the impact of the proposed gigantic pylons. They are around twice the height of the existing ones (at 50m or more), at least twice as wide and visible from a great distance. They are the biggest type of pylon currently in use in this country.
To put things in perspective, these pylons are about the same height as Nelson’s Column! There would be 18 wires between the pylons, which would mean a gigantic steel fence along the Whicham Valley, around the Duddon Estuary, and across the Furness Peninsula.
It would pass through through several communities including The Green, Ladyhall, and Kirkby-in-Furness.

These pylons would be a blight on the landscape for generations to come.

This is a a 400kV pylon near Heysham, with the Statue of Liberty, and Nelson’s Column for comparison. Also note the size of the lorry.

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NIMBY?

We do not consider ourselves as NIMBYs, but rather LAYBYs. This stands for “Looking After Your Back Yard”. We are trying to protect our wonderful landscape for all the future generations of visitors.

Existing Pylons

An Overhead Line (OHL) of much smaller pylons already exists along most of National Grid’s preferred route. National Grid believes that people will not object to replacement pylons that are twice as high and more than twice as wide.
We believe that the existing pylons are an eyesore and should never have been built in this wonderful landscape.

Ofgem Visual Impact Project

The government regulator Ofgem has provided £500m funding to the National Grid ‘Visual Impact Provision’ project to remove pylons in other areas of natural beauty, to reduce the visual impact. This policy should also apply to the Duddon Estuary.

Tourism

Thousands of people visit Cumbria every year, and obviously the local economy benefits from this. Many people come to get away from industrial landscapes to experience the beautiful unspoilt scenery. They do not want to see it disfigured with giant pylons.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Lake District National Park Authority is trying to get recognition for the Lake District as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Duddon Estuary is regarded as the “setting” of the National Park. Views into and out of it are important, and pylons could jeopardize this application.

Electrical and Magnetic Fields (EMF’s)

A government document states: “EMFs can have both direct and indirect effects on human health. The direct effects occur in terms of impacts on the central nervous system resulting in its normal functioning being affected.”
The document also gives guidelines for siting 400kV lines where houses and schools are nearby, and current proposals may contravene these guidelines.
Kirkby-in-Furness is of particular concern. If a new 400kV pylon line (OHL) were to follow the line of the existing 132kV OHL, it would be very close to the school and the site of a proposed housing estate behind the school. This would bring greater potential health risks from electric and magnetic fields.
Cancer – there has also been discussion in the past relating to leukaemia clusters close to power lines. This has not been proved, yet equally it has not been disproved.
Have a look at this video – if the electrical field can light up an unconnected fluorescent tube, what long-term effect might it be having on your body?

Alternatives to Pylons

Power Without Pylons is not opposing the proposed power station, or its new grid connection. But giant pylons are yesterday’s technology – there are now better ways of doing things.
We believe that the best solution for this project is the full Offshore HVDC subsea route, which National Grid proposed themselves in their 2014 consultation. National Grid subsequently announced an Onshore pylon route as their preferred one, but it has never stated that the Offshore route is impossible to construct. Some extra difficulties do not justify the desecration of the Cumbrian landscape.

Alternatives:

  • Offshore. In 2014 NG put forward a completely offshore subsea route from Moorside to Heysham. This used HVDC technology, and their cost estimate for this option was £1.8bn. We still believe this is a feasible option. Now that they have proposed substantial undergrounding along the coast in the National Park for the Onshore route, the cost estimate for this option has risen to £2.8bn. NG has quoted technical issues as the main problem with this option, but we have good reason to believe that these have been significantly exaggerated.
  • Kirksanton to Rossall/Fleetwood subsea cable. Another feasible offshore option for part of the route. This would eliminate the pylon route from Kirksanton to Roosecote. The connection would go offshore from Kirksanton at the southern end of the proposed underground section through the National Park. It would come ashore at Rossall near Fleetwood, and then continue to Heysham. For more details on this option, see this NWCC document.
  • Duddon Tunnel. If they can build a tunnel under Morecambe Bay, they can build one under the Duddon Estuary.
  • Kirksanton to Walney sub-sea cable. Another (partial) offshore option. This would eliminate the pylon route from Kirksanton to Roosecote.
  • Underground through the Whicham Valley, around the Duddon Estuary, and across the Furness peninsula.
  • Several other ways of crossing the Duddon Estuary to avoid the use of pylons.

Costs

National Grid’s preferred route involving giant pylons is now estimated at £2.8bn.

Offshore HVDC route – National Grid’s estimate for this option now appears to have almost doubled, at £3.5bn. We think the justification for this is in doubt.
“Kirksanton to Rossall/Fleetwood” and the Duddon Tunnel – NG has done studies on these routes, and they quote an extra cost for either of them at about £200m – £250m extra.
It therefore only requires approximately 7% more to do the job properly, and avoid the use of all pylons between Moorside and Heysham.

£200m represents only 20p of an annual electricity bill.
Our landscapes are worth the extra cost!