GIANT electricity pylons could blight the Ribble Valley unless locals stand firm against any such proposals.
That is the warning from local Conservatives, who claim plans to connect nuclear power stations at Sellafield and Heysham, as well as offshore windfarms, to the National Grid could mean a string of pylons stretching across some of England’s finest scenery.
If erected, the pylons could cross the Lake District, North Lancashire and the Ribble Valley. Local people should prepare now to respond to any public consultation and oppose the route warned Coun. Ken Hind, vice-chairman of Ribble Valley Conservatives.
“The expected route is believed by opponents to pass through the Hodder and Ribble valleys from Quernmore, Abbeystead and through a corridoor including the Trough of Bowland, Hareden, Dunsop Bridge, Whitewell, Cowark, Bashall Eaves, Great Mitton, Whalley. Billington and Read to Padiham,” said Coun. Hind.
“If these pylons are built this will be environmental vandalism – a large ugly slash through some of the areas of outstanding natural beauty in Lancashire.
“Jeanette Unsworth, National Grid spokeswoman, has confirmed it had been asked to provide connections to a number of new generators in Cumbria and Lancashire, but she said it was too early to say where the new infrastructure would be routed, or how. She confirmed it is likely to involve overhead transmission power lines, underground cables and new substations.”
Coun. Hind added: “The company is currently researching technical and environmental information to help it assess how connections might be built, prior to a full public consultation at the end of this year. We should be ready to respond.
“Ribble Valley Borough Council, Lancashire County Council, town and parish councils and MPs should all prepare to make representations on these proposals to bring 200 miles of new electricity cabling planned within the next decade.
“We should make representations to press for these cables to be buried underground if they are to pass through areas of natural beauty, as seems very likely. The extra cost is justified in protecting the rural nature of the Ribble Valley and it’s beautiful scenery.”
Urging local people to stay vigilant, Coun. Hind added: “We recognise the Department of Energy and Climate Change has indicated many of Britain’s power stations are nearing the end of their lives and we will need new infrastructure in the coming years if we want to keep the lights on and reduce our carbon emissions.
“The price of this must not be the destruction of our rural countryside, which is an amenity enjoyed by people from hundreds of miles around.”