Another positive step for pylon free views

We’ve recently responded to National Grid’s consultation on a draft policy for prioritising the lines that will receive funding from the £500 million allowance now available for reducing the visual impact of pylons and transmission lines in protected landscapes. There is much that we welcome in this draft policy, particularly the collaborative approach to stakeholder engagement and the development of a clear set of guiding principles at an early stage. We believe that this approach is the fairest way of prioritising the schemes to benefit from this allowance and it’s particularly good to see that National Grid has taken on board many of the suggestions that we raised previously.

However, we do have a couple of questions about the draft policy which we’ve highlighted in our response to the consultation. In particular, it is unclear whether the new allowance is intended to be spent only on the additional costs resulting from visual amenity improvements or whether it would be used to cover the costs of an entire scheme, for example, where the improvements are being introduced in conjunction with the replacement of existing lines which would have taken place anyway. Our view is that it should only be used on the additional costs relating to any visual amenity improvements which are over and above the cost of like-for-like replacement and we want National Grid to confirm that is the case.

We have been invited to participate in the Stakeholder Advisory Group that National Grid is setting up to take forward this work and which is due to meet for the first time early next year. We look forward to working closely with National Grid and other stakeholders to ensure the allowance is implemented successfully.