Power lines to disappear from marshes

POWER cables crossing the picturesque Blythburgh marshes will be removed this week in a £300,000 project.

POWER cables crossing the picturesque Blythburgh marshes will be removed this week in a £300,000 project.

EDF Energy will be start work tomorrow following close collaboration with the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Project and local residents and landowners.

Around 3km of overhead network and about 40 supporting poles will be removed from the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The existing power lines run across the Blyth Valley to Blythburgh village. The Blyth Valley is an open landscape with little high vegetation, which makes the power lines prominent.

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They are also currently visible from the Most Holy Trinity Church in Blythburgh, known as the Cathedral of the Marshes - a beautiful ancient building which attracts thousands of tourists.

Speaking about the overhead line removal, Neil Lister, projects officer with Suffolk Coast and Heaths, said: “The removal of these power lines will enhance one of the most beautiful parts of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so I'm delighted to see the project reach fruition.

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“Not only is the Blyth Valley a beautiful landscape, it is also an area of high heritage and wildlife value, which emphasises how important schemes such as this can be in improving the region's finest landscapes.”

EDF Energy Networks' Protected Areas project manager, Nigel Collier, added: “This is the final stage of this project which was started in 2006. When the steering group of environmental experts voted to remove these power lines we set about planning the installation of new underground cables. Working in marshland has demanded extremely detailed planning but we have overcome the local conditions to make the removal of overhead power lines a reality in this much-loved beauty spot.”

The investment has been made possible thanks to a special allowance granted by industry regulator Ofgem.

The energy firm will invest £2.9million from 2005 to 2010 in projects to install underground cables, in place of overhead power lines, in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and in National Parks in the East of England.

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