Money to bury power lines is secured

POWER lines blighting the Suffolk countryside are to be buried underground after money was found for the improvement project.

Richard Smith

POWER lines blighting the Suffolk countryside are to be buried underground after money was found for the improvement project.

An appeal had been launched to raise a shortfall of money required to fund the removal of unsightly power lines at Aldeburgh and the isolated village of Iken.

But when officers reconsidered their budgets they discovered that they could find the shortfall of £40,000 after all and this will enable the project to proceed.

Last year it was estimated the cost of removing the power lines would be £369,000 and limited funds were available from the electricity industry regulator (OFGEM) to put the low voltage lines underground.

However, the project is complex and it was feared the scheme would take up more of the budget than anticipated - at Aldeburgh the power lines cross the marsh on poles and the high water table adds significantly to the cost of burying the cables.

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The budget for putting wires underground in eastern England could not originally pay for the full cost of the scheme and therefore the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Unit appealed for help in raising £80,000.

An Iken landowner pledged to raise £40,000 and this left the Unit needing another £40,000.

They urged householders with views across Aldeburgh marshes and other people with a key interest in the area to consider donating money for the scheme.

But the Unit has now announced that there is money available and the power lines will be taken down this year or in 2009.

Neil Lister, projects development officer with Suffolk Coast and Heaths, said: “The shortfall has been 'found' from existing budget rather than 'raised'.

“The Iken/Aldeburgh scheme is scheduled to be implemented later this year or next year, dependent on permissions being obtained/surveys being completed.”

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