Somerset pylon protesters "flabbergasted" by National Grid plans

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: BURNHAM MP Tessa Munt and Paul Hipwell, from campaign group No Moor Pylons. BURNHAM MP Tessa Munt and Paul Hipwell, from campaign group No Moor Pylons.

ANTI-PYLON protesters say they are “flabbergasted” that National Grid has submitted plans for its Hinkley Point C connection scheme, as EDF faces an EU investigation into the deal for the proposed nuclear power station.

EDF is still awaiting the results of an investigation by the European Commission into whether a subsidy deal struck with the Government is illegal state aid, before taking a final investment decision on the power plant.

But National Grid has officially submitted plans to connect Hinkley C to the National Grid at Avonmouth.

National Grid’s transmission connection for Hinkley Point C will include 30 miles of overhead wires carried on pylons and a five-mile section under the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Paul Hipwell, chairman of campaign group No Moor Pylons, said: “We’re absolutely flabbergasted that National Grid is proceeding with the planning application when the Hinkley C project has not been agreed. How do they know what power they will need and how to deliver that at this stage?

“The plans also incorporate the Bristol Channel array project, which was actually cancelled about three months ago. It’s nonsensical.

“I’ve asked our MP Tessa Munt to bring this up in Parliament.”

From May 29 the Planning Inspectorate has 28 days to decide whether the application has met standards.

National Grid senior project manager, Peter Bryant, said: “Our application has been submitted after five years of listening and talking to the public and stakeholders, which has helped to shape the proposal.

“Their views have made a huge contribution, including helping to inspire an international pylon design competition and the proposal to place five miles of the connection underground through the Mendips.

“And, although the new pylons would be bigger than the existing ones, overall there would be 100 fewer pylons than there currently are in the landscape.”

A spokesman for National Grid added that although the plans for the Atlantic Array were cancelled, this does not affect National Grid’s plans for the connection project.

The spokesman added: “We have to work in parallel with other projects so we are ready to meet deadlines.”

If the plans are accepted for examination, the documents will be published on Planning Inspectorate’s website.

The public can take part in the examination by registering, before inspectors make their recommendation to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, who will make the final decision around late 2015.

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