Talks to set out detailed route of pylons delayed
A CONSULTATION on the detailed route of a new 400,000 volt overhead power line across the North Somerset countryside has been delayed.
Energy giant National Grid had hoped to start consulting on the exact route the new 37 line will take in April.
But the consultation – which will give exact details of the location of the route between Avonmouth and Bridgwater – now looks likely to start later in the summer, although a date has yet to be set.
A consultation on the draft route of the line finished in December, with National Grid receiving more than 1,000 emails, letters and comments on the proposals.
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National Grid spokeswoman Jane Taylor said: "The next stage of the project is looking at a very specific and detailed route and where the individual pylons will go.
"This work is at a very detailed level.
"We don't want to rush it as we need to make sure we have got the details right before we start talking to residents and landowners.
"We have also had to spend a lot of time analysing the feedback from the last consultation.
"There has been a delay in the consultation on the detailed route as we had hoped to start this in April or May. This is now likely to happen later in the summer although no decisions have yet been made about when."
Ecological, technical and environmental surveys are also being carried out and National Grid is continuing to talk to landowners along the draft route.
As part of initial consultations, the new line will now be moved further away from homes in Nailsea across the moor land towards Tickenham.
National Grid has also agreed to dismantle both existing 132,000 volt lines which currently cross people's gardens in Causeway View and Rhyne View.
One of the lines will be placed underground – meaning the blight of pylons adjacent to properties will be a thing of the past.
The line will then go towards Yatton and follow the existing line towards Churchill and Sandford, where a new sub-station will be built.
The existing power line which crosses Tickenham Ridge will be taken down with the new line being routed to avoid the historic Priors Wood at Portbury.
The line will then come over the hill and follow the M5 before crossing over and following the A369.
The line from Portbury Dock to Avonmouth will follow the western edge of the village and the taller pylons along the river will be replaced with smaller ones.
The existing overhead line above Avonmouth Church of England Primary School will also be removed.
An eight kilometre stretch of the line through the Mendip Hills Area of Natural Outstanding Beauty (AONB) will also run under the Somerset Levels from near Biddisham north to the old Strawberry Line Bridge near Sandford.
As part of the scheme, the existing 132,000 line will be taken down, ridding the beauty spot of pylons.
As part of the moves to run some of the route underground, the number of pylons being used along the route of the overhead line will reduce from 240 to 145.
Once the detailed route is agreed a planning application will have to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.
The line needs to be in place by 2017.