Work begins on deciding detailed power line route for North Somerset countryside
Energy giant National Grid is to start work on deciding the detailed route which a new 400,000 volt overhead power line across the North Somerset countryside will take.
A consultation on the draft route of the new 37-mile line finished on December 18, with National Grid receiving more than 1,000 emails, letters and comments on the proposals.
Around 700 people also visited special information centres set up in Avonmouth, Nailsea, Congresbury and Bridgwater to find out more about the scheme.
National Grid says the new line, between Avonmouth and Bridgwater, is needed to bring electricity onto its transmission network.
Work will now start on drawing up the detailed route of where the line will go before a further round of public consultation starts later this year. Ecological, technical and environmental surveys are also being carried out and National Grid is continuing to talk to landowners along the draft route.
National Grid spokesman Jane Taylor said: “We have been very pleased with the level of feedback we have received from the consultation on the draft route.
“We will be going through this feedback and work will now start on drawing up a more detailed route.
“A further round of public consultation on the detailed route of the line will take place later this year.”
As part of initial consultations, the new line will now be moved further away from homes in Nailsea across the moor land towards Tickenham.
National Grid has also agreed to dismantle both existing 132,000 volt lines which currently cross people’s gardens in Causeway View and Rhyne View.
One of the lines will be placed underground – meaning the blight of pylons adjacent to properties will be a thing of the past.
The line will then go towards Yatton and follow the existing line towards Churchill and Sandford, where a new sub-station will be built.
The existing power line which crosses Tickenham Ridge will be taken down with the new line being routed to avoid the historic Priors Wood at Portbury.
The line will then come over the hill and follow the M5 before crossing over and following the A369.
The Portbury Wharf nature reserve will not be affected and the line has been kept away from homes.
The line from Portbury Dock to Avonmouth will follow the western edge of the village and the taller pylons along the river will be replaced with smaller ones.
The existing overhead line above Avonmouth Church of England Primary School will also be removed.
An eight kilometre stretch of the line through the Mendip Hills Area of Natural Outstanding Beauty (AONB) will also be put underground under the Somerset Levels from near Biddisham north to the old Strawberry Line Bridge near Sandford.
As part of the scheme, the existing 132,000 line will be taken down, ridding the beauty spot of unsightly pylons.
As part of the moves to put the cables underground in some areas of the route, the number of pylons being used along the route of the overhead line will reduce from 240 to 145.
However, not everyone is happy with the draft route with people in Portbury claiming the line will go through Sheepway and split the village in half.
A planning application for the detailed route is to be submitted later this year.
The Government will make a decision based on a recommendation made by the Planning Inspectorate.