Funding bid to reduce pylons’ impact in Suffolk & Essex AONBs

Nigel Chapman, chair of the Dedham Vale Area of Natural Beauty, wants to see pylons put underground.

Nigel Chapman, chair of the Dedham Vale Area of Natural Beauty, wants to see pylons put underground. - Credit: Su Anderson

A bid is set to be made for a share of a £24million funding pot to reduce the impact of electricity pylons on beauty spots in Suffolk and Essex.

Nigel Chapman, chair of the Dedham Vale Area of Natural Beauty, wants to see pylons put underground.

Nigel Chapman, chair of the Dedham Vale Area of Natural Beauty, wants to see pylons put underground. Photo: Su Anderson - Credit: Su Anderson

The Dedham Vale and Suffolk Coast & Heaths Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which has a combined team, is gearing up to apply for the money from National Grid when a new scheme launches this winter.

Available over the course of six years, the £24m Landscape Enhancement Initiative is open to all AONBs and country parks nationally to fund local projects to improve the landscape.

Schemes might include tree planting and promoting paths that avoid unsightly pylons and electricity cables.

However the funding is unlikely to cover burying the power lines underground.


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Both AONBs missed out last November on being shortlisted for a larger Visual Impact Provision project, which yesterday announced schemes in the New Forest, Peak District, Snowdonia and Dorset AONB would benefit from a multi-million pound project to bury cables.

Ofgem has provided £500m in funding for the two initiatives.

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Nigel Chapman, chairman of the Dedham Vale AONB, said: “The Dedham Vale AONB welcomes the Landscape Enhancement Initiative that forms part of National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision.

“Although we were initially disappointed not to have been included in the main programme to underground transmission infrastructure, we are committed to put forward innovative projects as part of the Landscape Enhancement Initiative that will reduce the visual impact of the power lines for residents and visitors to the Dedham Vale.

“The AONB team will be working on ideas to reduce the visual impacts at publicly accessible areas, such as the Stour Valley Path, community or parish council-managed open spaces or where they impact upon historic buildings.

“Projects might include localised tree planting, better management and improvement of hedgerows or changes to promoted routes to avoid views of the infrastructure.

“We will also be proposing schemes to improve the understanding of the historic Dedham Vale landscape and improve the fabric of the landscape by undertaking projects to enhance the wildlife and heritage features of the AONB.

“We welcome the opportunity to bid to the Local Enhancement Initiative for projects that will enhance our superb landscape and improve the area and support the sustainable visitor economy that is so important to many of our residents.”

National Grid said the Local Enhancement Initiative aimed to “reduce the visual impact of National Grid’s existing infrastructure” and “improve the related visual quality of the landscape”.

Projects could enhance biodiversity, benefit cultural heritage or raise awareness of natural and historic features of a landscape.

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