ANTI-PYLONS campaigners have been giving their reaction to National Grid's draft Hinkley C to Avonmouth connection route.

National Grid has bowed to pressure and will be using underground cables in the Mendip Area of Outstanding National Beauty, but pylons will be used in other areas, including around East Huntspill, Puriton, Mark, Woolavington and Rooksbridge.

No Moor Pylons spokesman Paul Hipwell: “They haven’t listened to the people of Burnham and Highbridge, who have been so vocal in saying they wanted it underground.

“They have not taken into account the value of the environmental and social side – this affects people’s lives.

“The pylons are going to be 152ft high, that’s 1.5 times bigger than the existing pylons, and they will be much, much wider.

“It’s going to really stand out.

“Tourism is so important to Burnham and Highbridge – it’s 19,000 jobs, and the first things people coming down on the M5 are going to see are these huge pylons.

“They’ll stop seeing the area as a rural area and started seeing it as an industrial area.”

National Grid's lead project manager Paul Cumpstone insisted the company had listened to people's concerns about the effect pylons would have on the landscape.

He said: "It's a complex balance of a number of factors, including cost and environmental issues."

Mr Cumpstone said the route had been changed in a number of areas following specific concerns raised during the consultation - for example, the new pylons will be moved further away from Mark First School.

He said: "Where we could, we took the opportunity to move the pylons as far away from homes and other properties as possible."

However, Mr Cumpstone acknowledged the new 400KV pylons, which would replace the entire 132KV line connecting Bridgwater with Avonmouth, would be far larger, although there would be fewer of them.

He said: "The existing towers are approximately 27 metres high.

"The towers we are using are 42 metres high - they are larger and wider but there will be greater distance between them, and we will have about 30% fewer towers than at present."

Landowners and other interested parties will be consulted over the next six weeks.

National Grid will then submit its final route scheme towards the end of 2013, and hopes to gain permission from the Government by early 2015.

Work on the route would take place over the following four years.