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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Pylons and turbines too much for county

WIND turbines must be refused if huge new pylons are built across the Cumbrian landscape to carry power from a new nuclear power station.

dc knowles14
Tim Knowles: Bids for turbines have the potential to clash with the more strategic need of putting up new pylons

Tim Knowles, Cumbria County Council’s spokesman on transport and environment, said the county should not have to accept huge new pylons – possibly stretching from west Cumbria to Carlisle – and wind turbines blighting the landscape.

Speaking after the first stage of a National Grid consultation into the new power line route from Moorside, near Sellafield, closed, he said: “Applications for windfarms have the potential of clashing with the more strategic requirement of putting up new pylons.”

He has called upon the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to make changes to planning rules that would halt the continued proliferation of turbines in the county.

He said: “Concerns over infrastructure clutter, meaning particularly the development of major windfarms close to or within potential super pylon corridors, have been addressed by officers engaged in the National Grid’s Planning Performance Agreement and are shared by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

“A recent statement by the chief executive at the Office of Nuclear Development, within DECC, confirmed that it must not be first-come first-served in such cases, it should not be turbines before pylons and that strategic energy considerations must be taken into account.”

National Grid has identified two preferred options from six drawn up earlier this year.

Both options would see the pylon route taken north to Harker sub-station at Carlisle and south to Lancaster from any new nuclear power station in the Sellafield area. One of the options includes sinking the power lines under the sea.

A combination of overhead lines, underground cables and gas insulated line is likely to be used.

Among the 255 responses to the initial consultation were the views of local councils, organisations and individuals.

The Friends of the Lake District said: “We are urging the National Grid to consider a variety of options for transmission, including underground and offshore cables, as well as alternative pylon designs, in order to minimise landscape impact.

“It is vital that the option chosen protects sensitive landscape areas like the Lake District National Park and the Solway Coast AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).”

National Grid is due to announce its favoured route for the new lines at the end of this year.

A further consultation will be conducted in 2013 and a summary of early responses will be published at the end of the year.

ABurdett@cngroup.co.uk

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