300 miles of pylons to blight countryside as energy bosses link new wind farms and nuclear power stations to the grid
Parts of the most beautiful countryside in Britain will be blighted by hundreds of miles of electricity pylons in the next few years, campaigners warned yesterday.
Energy bosses are planning at least 300 miles of high-voltage power lines to connect new wind farms and the next generation of nuclear power stations to the grid.
While some lines may be buried or at sea, the vast majority will be strung up on 160ft-high pylons.
The lines will stretch across the stunning hills and valleys of mid-Wales, the gentle farmland of Constable’s Suffolk and the rolling grasslands of the Somerset Mendips.
Others could blot Cumbria, the Kent Weald and the mountains of Snowdonia.
The proposals have sparked outrage in rural Britain and united environmentalists and opponents of wind farms.
In mid-Wales, locals are fighting plans for 800 wind turbines in Powys and a 50-mile stretch of pylons to export the electricity to England.
Thousands of protesters, who have been given just two months’ notice of the National Grid and Scottish Power scheme, will descend on Cardiff next week to voice their anger at the Welsh Assembly.
Campaigners say the proposals represent ‘the greatest act of environmental vandalism since the Second World War’.
Welsh Tory MP Glyn Davies said the plan would destroy cherished landscapes and be disastrous for tourism. He said: ‘It is crazy to take an area dependent on its beauty and cover it with turbines and pylons.’
Paul Miner, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, added: ‘They are prepared to bury power lines in cities – they wouldn’t dream of running pylons through Regent’s Park – but they don’t bury them when it comes to beautiful landscapes.’
A National Grid spokesman said burying power lines was ten times more expensive than using pylons.
The National Grid has 4,500 miles of high-voltage overhead power lines and 650 miles of high-voltage underground cables.
– Scottish and Southern Energy hinted at price rises yesterday as it unveiled profits of £1.3billion for the last financial year. It follows a similar warning from bosses at British Gas parent company Centrica.
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