National Grid announces Somerset power line plans

The UK's electricity transmission operator National Grid has announced details of the route of a controversial 400,000-volt power line in Somerset.

Under the proposals, the 37-mile power line – which is intended to run from Bridgwater to Seabank, near Avonmouth – will run underground for a distance of nearly five miles in the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

According to National Grid, the new power line will mean that an existing 132,000-volt line between Bridgwater and Avonmouth could be taken down. It added that a number of other shorter sections of 132,000 volt line will be removed to facilitate construction of the new line.

The National Grid also said that construction of the new power line would mean the number of pylons between Bridgwater and Avonmouth would be reduced from 240 to 145.

When the existing 132,000 volt line is removed, a new substation will be needed in the Sandford area to facilitate an adequate power connection for Weston-super-mare and Churchill.

National Grid senior project manager Peter Bryant said: "We understand people have concerns about overhead lines, but where they are used, we will work hard to reduce any visual effects by routeing the line carefully and using appropriate pylon designs, which could include the new T-Pylon."

North Somerset Council deputy leader and lead member for strategic planning Elfan Ap Rees said: "We are pleased to see that National Grid has listened, in part, to the objections raised by the council and North Somerset residents and that the new line through the AONB will now be buried and the existing line removed.

"However I am disappointed that to date, they are only proposing to bury one of the existing 132,000 volt lines on the Nailsea-Portishead sector whilst replacing the other with the new line overground. This is not what residents want to hear and we will continue to argue for the whole overhead line to be underground to improve the appearance of our countryside."

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