Help the National Park to tackle unsightly power lines

Published Wednesday 22 March 2006

Lovers of the New Forest’s open landscapes now have the chance to help make them even more beautiful by identifying unsightly power lines they would like to see removed.

The New Forest National Park Authority is asking for the views of local people and visitors about which low-voltage overhead electricity cables they find most intrusive in the local countryside. The Authority will then work with Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) to see which of these lines should have priority for being taken down and put underground.

Scottish and Southern Electricity has around £1 million a year for four years to spend in protected landscapes such as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty across the south-east. The National Park Authority would like them to spend some of this money improving the quality of New Forest views by reducing the intrusion of power lines. The process is an expensive one, costing around £100,000 per kilometre.

Stephen Trotter, Director of Conservation and Enhancement for the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘We welcome this excellent initiative by SSE to help tidy up some of the south-east’s most treasured views. The process is a competitive one, with 11 protected areas eligible for the project. SSE is rightly proposing to choose the locations where its investment will have the biggest impact. We cannot guarantee those we identify will be successful but I would very much like the New Forest to benefit from the scheme.

‘I am aware of several places in the Forest that could benefit greatly. However, I am also keen to gauge public feeling about which lines cause most problems before finalising the list of possible sites. I am keen to hear from people as soon as possible.’

Stephen Trotter would like to hear your suggestions or comments by the end of March in writing at the New Forest National Park Authority at South Efford House, Milford Road, Lymington, Hampshire SO41 0JD or by e-mail to stephen.trotter@newforestnpa.gov.uk .

Funds are intended for open rural areas and not built areas like villages or towns. The project applies to low-voltage lines only: as a rule of thumb any wires suspended on metal towers are probably too large.

The New Forest National Park Authority will compile a detailed map of the suggestions made so that even if they are unsuccessful in this round of bids there is a priority list ready if and when additional funding becomes available.

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Media contact:
Martin O'Neill, Head of Communications,, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646647
Email: martin.o'neill@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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