Say no to pylons in the Lake District

The Lake District National Park is being threatened by 24km of pylons and overhead lines up to 50m high.

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The John Muir Trust is one of a number of organisations [1] that are supporting a Friends of the Lake District campaign to stop 24km of 50m tall pylons and overhead lines running through the west of the Lake District National Park.

National Grid is proposing to run 400kV cables around the west of Cumbria from Carlisle in the north to Heysham in the south. In the worst-case scenario, this would mean 24km of pylons and overhead lines within the Lake District National Park. To have this length of overhead line running through one of England’s most unique, important and well-loved landscapes would be damaging in the extreme to the character of the Lake District National Park. National Grid have said because there is already a line of pylons in the area, that new pylons would not be damaging to the landscape, however, the proposed pylons will be nearly double the height of the existing pylons.

A very damaging scheme is in danger of being pushed through on the basis that it is the cheapest option, when that mistake cannot be undone and will be there for up to 80 years. The protections for this precious landscape were hard fought for and we must stand by them to enable future generations to enjoy the beauty and tranquility we take so much for granted. Both National Grid and Ofgem have legal duties to ensure that the environment is correctly protected and further work and evidence on assumptions and costings is required to demonstrate that the Offshore south option is not a practicable alternative.

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In a public consultation last year, National Grid presented an option where the cables could be run south of the new power station by going offshore. This was the most popular option in the consultation responses as it avoided damage to the landscape and wildlife of the National Park and was also highlighted as the best option for the environment in National Grid’s own Environmental Statement. However National Grid has chosen the onshore south with tunnel route as NuGen, the Moorside power station developer, effectively vetoed the offshore route on technical grounds (which are disputed) leaving the onshore south route as the only option on the table.

At the moment, National Grid is refusing to discuss undergrounding of the powerline in the west of the Lake District and has only put forward different overhead line routes as “mitigation”. None of these alternative routes would avoid damaging the unique coastal landscape of the Lake District National Park. This “mitigation” is no mitigation at all if we are offered no alternative to overhead lines.

Friends of the Lake District is asking people to write to National Grid, their MPs and the Government, insisting that if the 400kV cables are not taken offshore, they must be put underground through and adjacent to the Lake District National Park. Friends of the Lake District is concerned that despite the evidence that Friends of the Lake District, its partners and members of the public provided them with during the last round of consultation, National Grid refuse to acknowledge the landscape value of the Lake District as a National Park and a candidate World Heritage Site.

Sign up for the Friends of the Lake District campaign

Read about work the John Muir Trust has been doing to address the impacts of transmission on wild land

Notes

1 The BMC, Campaign for National Parks, CPRE, Friends of the Lake District, John Muir Trust, Open Spaces Society, Power Without Pylons