Pylons could create terror threat

BUILDING new pylons alongside an existing line of cables running along the south Suffolk countryside could create a potential target for terrorists, it has been claimed.

Elliot Furniss

BUILDING new pylons alongside an existing line of cables running along the south Suffolk countryside could create a potential target for terrorists, it has been claimed.

Campaigners have warned that constructing a new set of 400kv pylons between Bramford, near Ipswich, and Twinstead, near Sudbury, right next to existing power cables in order to improve the capacity of the network - as would be the case in two of the four options put forward by the energy giant - would create a dangerous concentration of power.

David Holland, of the Stour Valley Underground (SVU) campaign group, said such a move would leave the areas supplied by the cables in the south of England - including London - at risk of a power shortage in the event of a terrorist attack or instance of freak weather.


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He said: “If the East of England was subjected to an ice storm it could knock the thing out - it's not terribly likely, but it will get more than likely because of the change in climate.

“The same thing is true as far as a terrorist act is concerned. The result is that if such a weather event takes place in the area we could end up with the City of London being shut down.

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“If it (the new set of cables) is over ground it's hugely exposed to either manmade or environmental catastrophe - it should be underground.

“This is not an issue that National Grid thinks about.”

A spokesman for National Grid said its pylons and overhead lines were built to be “very robust” and to withstand extreme weather conditions.

She said: “Where overhead lines are routed in parallel they are built sufficiently far apart so that in the very rare event that a pylon were to come down it would not affect the other line.

“It is extremely unlikely that two overhead lines, even within the vicinity of each other, would both be rendered non-operational. In addition, damage to overhead lines can be identified very quickly and repaired within days or even hours.

“The National Grid network is designed to cope with the loss of one or more overhead lines as lines have to be switched out for maintenance.

“Where there is the loss of a power line National Grid will endeavour to secure power supplies through temporary alternative arrangements.”

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