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CPRE are supporting National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision project to reduce the visual impacts of existing electricity lines, but plans for new lines risk creating new problems.

CPRE are on the Stakeholder Advisory Group for the Visual Impact Provision project. It advises National Grid on how best to mitigate the impact of their existing network of high-voltage electricity lines in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). However, we have concerns that the good practice approaches emerging from this project are not being replicated in the plans for new lines that National Grid is planning.

We believe that as far as possible overhead electricity lines should be avoided in the most precious parts of our countryside such as National Parks and AONBs by routing lines elsewhere —  including offshore — or burying the lines. If some new overhead lines do have to be installed, we are pressing National Grid to ensure this is done in the least damaging manner. We are also urging the Government regulator Ofgem to support the approach to avoid overhead lines in the most sensitive areas and prevent lasting damage to them.

In  November 2014, a section of National Grid's existing transmission line near the villages of Martinstown and Winterbourne Abbas in the Dorset AONB was identified by an independent study as having a significant landscape and visual impact. The project will reach a major milestone at the end of 2017 when the team behind it will submit a planning application for the scheme. The project which seeks to remove over 8km of overhead line and 20 pylons near the villages of Martinstown and Winterbourne Abbas is one of only four under way in England and Wales – it is also the most advanced with Dorset poised for a world first. More details can be found on

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