Here is the start of a national campaign to get a better solution than National Grid have so far proposed. We will have to live with this for the rest of this century, so it needs to be right. The current proposal is not.
Tell them that they can do better than this.
National Grid, a private commercial company not a government agency, are proposing hundreds of new 50-55 metre pylons across the north, west and south of Cumbria including inside the Lake District National Park and its setting, through world heritage sites and environmentally sensitive areas. This is to support a new build power station at Moorside next to Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant being developed by another private consortium of companies not a government agency. We welcome the investment and jobs but do not believe they have to trash the rest of the landscape, on which much of our local economy depends, to do it.
There are alternatives. Here are some suggestions for the campaign.
- Underground – the most obvious and easily understood. It is not that costly on arable land and it disappears quickly – can you remember where the gas pipeline goes? May not be suitable in boggy marshes and rocky places but those are SSSIs and National Park fells anyway which are not on the route. National Grid figures fudge costs on this technique by quoting ballpark or average amounts per kilometre. Compensation for farmers? Yes!
- Under the Duddon Estuary – if a Morecambe Bay tunnel is possible how much easier is a Duddon Estuary one? They have not even studied this so far. It will avoid scores of pylons through the very places we are encouraging new workers to live.
- Surface conduits, Gas Insulated Lines, cut and cover routes, to name a few others for on land – and we are not even engineers.
- Part offshore, south of Eskmeals gun proving range to Barrow in Furness – avoiding most of the offshore to land connections. This is short enough to be AC power avoiding the “technical” problems of DC power on a longer offshore route. This was an early option which has been quietly forgotten.
- Of course, you could avoid it all with the Offshore South option. The route is feasible beyond the existing wind turbines off Walney. The procedure of laying the cables has been around since the 1950s. They do it from Ireland, France, Belgium and soon Norway to the UK already.The kit at the ends has been around a similar time, the current versions for 10-20 years. The fact that it is a nuclear plant is a red herring – it is just a commercial aversion to risk.
If it is not offshore it needs to be out of sight. We support the current national campaign that Friends of the Lake District are mounting.
I urge you to go to this site saynotopylonsinthelakedistrict/ and join the campaign.
Sign up, customise your note to National Grid maybe using some of the points above and the text on the website. A personal letter is so much more effective than a template in the eyes of an Inspector. And the Inspector will be looking for this at the subsequent inquiry in 2017. Then when you get a copy from the campaign website in your email, send it to your MP whoever they are. If you live locally, also send it to your County Councillor, District Councillor and Parish Councillors. And go to your next Parish Council and tell them in the public participation section.
Please email a link to this page, or your customised campaign note, to your friends who appreciate the Lake District and ask them to do the same.
Please, if you live locally, also go to the community information events – dates and places in a separate post later. Let National Grid know in person, and give them written feedback at the event and afterwards as well.
The more responses that are written, the more the politicians and inspectors will scrutinise the proposals.