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16 July 2012
Campaigners dismayed at lack ambition from Ofgem to underground power cables in valued landscapes.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has expressed disappointment at a disturbing lack of ambition in Ofgem's initial proposals for undergrounding energy cables in our most treasures landscapes.
As part of £22 billion investment plan for energy infrastructure, Ofgem proposed only £100 million for undergrounding existing power lines in National Parks and AONBs. This would only allow for between four to 10 kilometres of existing power lines in National Parks and AONBs to be undergrounded - less than 2 percent of the existing 420 KM of overhead power lines in these areas. Ofgem is making available £470 million for undergrounding new power lines.
Tom Leveridge, Senior Energy Campaigners for CPRE, says: “Although we welcome the increase in funds to allow undergrounding of up to 10 percent of new power lines, we are disappointed at the lack of ambition to get pylons out of our most valued landscapes. Time and again the public say they don't want to see pylons in National Parks and not enough is being done to make this happen.
“It's not clear how the £100 million figure has been determined. We know that National Grid has recently completed research looking at how willing the public are to pay for undergrounding power lines, and we believe this has influenced the final figure, but so far they have been unwilling to make this research publicly available.
“We are currently undergoing the largest overhaul of the transmission network in a generation. These decisions must be subject to public scrutiny, but at every stage of the process National Grid has delayed or withheld the information needed to evaluate their proposals. This is simply unacceptable.”