Peak District pylons set to vanish in £500m scheme

Pylons in the Peak District national park
Image caption Pylons in the Peak District national park have been dominating the skyline since the 1960s

A stretch of power lines running through the Peak District national park could be buried underground as part of a £500m scheme.

The 50m (164ft) tall structures are set to disappear at Dunford Bridge in South Yorkshire as part of National Grid plans to remove ugly overhead lines.

The project has shortlisted 12 stretches of pylons in eight areas across the country.

A final decision on the Peak District plan will be made in March.

The pylons can be seen across a 12.8km (8m) stretch of the national park, starting near Penistone in South Yorkshire and ending at Tintwistle in Derbyshire.

Steve Knight-Gregson, from the National Grid, said: "We have looked at national parks in England and Wales where we have overhead lines and a panel of experts and landscape architects have helped narrow it down to this shortlist.

"In the Peak District, this section of line is one of those that's made it through for further work."

'Willing to pay'

The scheme is funded by Ofgem, which will claw back the cost through an increase in customers' bills.

Plans to remove the pylons include replacing overhead lines with underground cables, screening lines from viewpoints and re-routing lines.

Anne Robinson, from Friends of the Peak District, said: "There [were] a lot of studies done before this was set up to make sure the customers were behind it.

"There's no doubt that customers are willing to pay and have a very small sum added to their electricity bills a year to make sure these landscapes are enhanced."

Image caption A final decision on removing the Peak District pylons will be made in March

Pylons were introduced in the Peak District national park in the 1960s.

John Scott, from the Peak District National Park Authority, welcomed the news that they could be removed.

He said: "These measures would greatly improve the appearance of the valley, which runs through some of the wildest moorland landscape in the Peak District.

"The pylon towers and the overhead cables are some of the most intrusive modern elements in a valley. This is clearly a very welcome proposal which would be of great benefit to the special character of this part of the Peak District."

Other parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty shortlisted for the work include:

  • New Forest
  • Brecon Beacons
  • Snowdonia
  • Dorset
  • High Weald
  • North Wessex Downs
  • Tamar Valley

Nick Clack, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: "This is a really positive step in reducing the impact of existing overhead electricity lines in some of our most valued countryside.

"Given these welcome efforts to mitigate the impact of existing lines, National Grid needs to make sure it is doing all it can to mitigate the impact of new ones."

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