Part of Somerset pylon route to be buried under Mendips

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Image caption,
Campaigners had called for as much of the cable as possible to go underground

Part of a controversial electricity cable connecting Hinkley Point and Avonmouth in Bristol will be buried underground.

A five-mile section (8km) of the 37-mile (60km) route will go under the Mendip Hills area of outstanding national beauty.

National Grid said removal of the existing power line would ultimately mean 95 fewer pylons in the area.

Campaigners had called for as much as possible to go underground.

Paul Hipwell, from No Moor Pylons, said while he welcomed the news that some of the route was going underground it was "very frustrating" and that National Grid had not listened to anything it had said.

"They've not taken into account the economic or social cost of the lines running through the countryside.

"We welcome the taking down of the smaller cables and that is obviously an improvement, especially around Nailsea.

"But instead we are going to be inflicted with 152-foot high pylons in their place," he added.

Weston-super-Mare Conservative MP John Penrose said he welcomed National Grid's pledge to take down the existing smaller pylons that run across the Mendips as well.

'Waste of time'

He said he had been told the cable would be buried from near Biddisham north to the old Strawberry Line bridge near Sandford.

But the North Somerset Conservative, Liam Fox, said the plans were "very disappointing" and reinforced the impression the consultation was "largely a waste of time".

Dr Fox added he would be talking to National Grid and consulting the secretary of state over the matter.

Peter Bryant, from National Grid, said: "We've been very keen to listen to the views of local people, for example on the importance of the Mendip Hills where we now plan to use underground cables."

The 400,000 volt cables would link the proposed Hinkley Point C station with Bristol and could be built by 2016.

This will mean that an existing 132,000 volt line between Bridgwater and Avonmouth can be taken down.

Two other 132,000-volt lines near Nailsea will be also taken down with one route, which currently goes over gardens, buried underground and another moved further away from the houses.

An overhead line above Avonmouth C of E Primary School will also be removed.

The firm would need to apply for permission to the Infrastructure Planning Commission before any work can be carried out.

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