2013-03-15 xml
New Cash To Put More Power Lines Underground In National Park

More cash has been set aside to get rid of unsightly overhead power lines in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Residents and visitors are being asked to suggest areas where cables should go underground in the next few years.

Ofgem, the regulator of the electricity industry, is in the process of allocating funds for the undergrounding of more power lines in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Thomas Harland, the YDNPA’s Planning Policy Officer, said: “We haven’t received confirmation of our final allocation from Ofgem yet, but I think we can confidently estimate it to be about £3 million.

“It takes a long time to plan an undergrounding scheme. This is because it’s hard to find a line that doesn’t create some challenges – whether due to cost, disruption to local communities, wildlife, archaeology, or for technical and logistical reasons.

“This means we need to start working with the power suppliers to plan the next set of schemes as soon as possible – so we’d like to hear suggestions for lines that should be targeted.

“We can’t make any promises because it is common for any combination of the above challenges to undermine scheme feasibility. However, once we’ve got some ideas, we’ll sit down with the electricity companies and see which ones they can take forward.”

As part of an existing £1.8m five-year scheme, the YDNPA has worked with power suppliers on projects to put a number of overhead lines underground, including some from Dent Station to Cowgill and from Grimwith to Stump Cross.

And dozens of prehistoric flints hidden for thousands of years were unearthed during the first phase of a £300,000 project with Electricity North West on the Malham Moor Estate. Work was put on hold so archaeological students from Bradford University could investigate further. The Malham scheme will see 23 electricity poles removed and overhead powerlines replaced with 2.2km of underground cable.

Other schemes that are on-going include lines in Upper Wharfedale from Deepdale to Beckermonds and in Ribblesdale on Swarth Moor.

Ann Brooks, the YDNPA’s Member Champion for Sustainable Development, said: “This is a very welcome initiative which, hopefully, will allow yet more undergrounding of electricity supplies within this National Park. I would commend Ofgem for their very positive contribution in helping to conserve the beautiful landscape that we all value and enjoy.”

Yorkshire Dales

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