The Hinkley Debate: The fight against pylons heats up
The fight against a proposed new line of hi-tech electricity pylons stretching across the Cheddar Valley has found a new lease of life following the Hinkley C announcement.
National Grid would like to build a line of new pylons substantially bigger than the existing ones on the route.
Anti-pylon groups want a new undersea cable from Hinkley to Avonmouth.
Paul Hipwell, of No Moor Pylons, said: “Now it’s clear Hinkley is proceeding, the pylon plans are real.
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“It is vital that everyone in the community responds to the consultation and makes their views clear on whether it’s acceptable to put 160ft pylons across the beautiful Somerset countryside.
“Our view remains the same. We bury our water mains, we bury our gas mains, we should bury our electricity cables.”
No Moor Pylons are not the only group urging National Grid to place subsea cables.
Dr Maggie Gregory, of Pylon-Moor-Pressure, said: “The announcement that a deal has been reached removes any uncertainty about the need for the new National Grid connection from Hinkley to Seabank.
“From the outset of this scheme Pylon-Moor-Pressure has not wanted the new 400,000 volt line to be put overland and has called for a sub-sea cable to be laid. Although National Grid continues to talk about the technical difficulties of doing so, it is an option.
“The Electricity Networks Strategy published a report in February 2012 which showed that both an HVAC and an HVDC cable connection were options for this project.
“This final consultation for the Hinkley C Connection has provided sufficient detail of the extent of the works for Pylon-Moor-Pressure to take an even harder line to push for a subsea cable.
“Given that sub-sea transmission is possible, that is the only acceptable solution.”
Public consultations throughout the Cheddar Valley have been well attended, including ones held by Mark Parish Council in September and a consultation bus requested by Compton Bishop and Badgworth which was brought to Tanyard Nursery.
Richard Parker, a parish councillor at Compton Bishop who helped organise the consultation bus, said: “When finished, Hinkley C will be plugged into the electricity grid which needs big new cables to accommodate the extra load.
“As you know, the majority of people and councils don’t want these cables hanging on enormous pylons spreading over the Somerset Levels and it’s not too late to run these up the Bristol Channel and protect the countryside.
“However, government legislation and policies are used to ensure National Grid installs the cheapest and most environmentally unfriendly option, which no one wants.
“This, as Ofgem would say, is in our own interest and protects the consumer against high prices.
“Now the Government have announce that they are offering EDF a long-term guaranteed price of about double what we’re paying on our bills now.
“Is this inflated price good for the public? Where are the checks to protect us?”
Hinkley Point C special coverage in this week's Cheddar Valley Gazette.