Call to continue scheme to reduce visual impact of power lines

Trust joins with 14 environmental NGOs in open letter highlighting need to protect important landscapes

Beauly denny detail

The Trust is one of 15 environmental non-governmental organisations who have written an open letter about the visual amenity allowances included in the current price controls for electricity distribution and transmission (the RIIO-2 Framework).  These allowances enable the electricity network operators to develop and implement projects to reduce the visual impact of existing power lines in, or significantly impacting on, important landscapes.  This could include important areas of wild land in designated landscapes.

The letter urges the industry regulator Ofgem to ensure that the framework for RIIO-2 allows for similar allowances to be included in the next set of price controls.  There is scope to do more to reduce the visual impact of electricity infrastructure and these allowances – which apply to landscapes designated as National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Scenic Areas (NSAs) – could make an invaluable contribution to this.

Since the introduction of the visual amenity allowances there are a number of schemes underway which have had or will have a positive impact on landscapes previously particularly impacted by distribution lines, for example within Cumbria.  Work to mitigate the impact of existing transmission lines will take longer, given that this is a more recent scheme and the scale of the work is greater but could have a similarly positive effect.*

The Trust played a key role during the early stages of negotiation with Ofgem and industry over the development and implementation of this scheme, in particular to ensure that its scope was extended to Scotland’s National Scenic Areas. Read more about this

Trust staff are involved in the stakeholder groups for SSE’s Visual Impact of Scottish Transmission Assets (VISTA) and SP’s Visual Impact of Existing Wirescape (VIEW) projects in Scotland.

Read the letter here

* The allowance for transmission line mitigation projects does not apply to the more recently-constructed Beauly-Denny transmission line in Scotland.

The full list of signatories is:-

Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland
Campaign for National Parks
Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales
Campaign to Protect Rural England
Cymdeithas Eryri - Snowdonia Society
Dartmoor Preservation Association
Friends of the Dales
Friends of the Lake District
Friends of the New Forest
Friends of the Peak District
Friends of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
John Muir Trust
National Association of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
South Downs Society
The Broads Society