Better protection for birds as power poles put underground at hamlet
PUBLISHED: 16:30 06 April 2019
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Work is underway on a £425,000 project to remove overhead power lines at a Suffolk wildlife haven – protecting its birds and environment.
The project will transform the appearance of the coastal settlement of Shingle Street for its wildlife, visitors and residents.
UK Power Networks, which owns and operates the electricity network in the East of England, is removing around 3.3km of 11,000-volt overhead power lines and other equipment, after installing 3.8km of underground cables to continue safely delivering power to the area.
As well as improving views at the remote village in Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the work will remove any risk of birds flying into overhead lines. Ground work has already started with the removal of lines and poles scheduled for later this year.
The scheme is funded by a special allowance from electricity industry regulator Ofgem, to improve the landscape in AONBs and National Parks.
UK Power Networks project manager Trevor Phillips said: “This is already a stunning location and removing the power lines will only improve it further.
“There are also practical reasons for this work, including the fact that underground cabling should be less likely to suffer damage so local power supplies will be more reliable.
“There are some challenges with this terrain as the land is prone to flooding, but we have designed the project accordingly and are pleased to be part of a project that will make such a positive long-term difference to east Suffolk.”
David Wood, chair of the AONB Partnership said: “The overhead wires currently interrupt the views enjoyed in this area and bring modern infrastructure to such a natural, wild and special place. Shingle Street is a delightful and special place and this work will provide an immediate and lasting improvement to the views within this AONB.”
Catherine Lindsay-Davies, of the Shingle Street Settlement Company, said: “We are very happy that these works are underway. Our first discussions about the project were in 2008, and there have been times when we feared it would not happen at all. This important project recognises the beautiful and fragile environment of Shingle Street as well as the needs of the community that lives here.”