Power lines heading underground

Published Friday 25 August 2006

Lovers of the New Forest landscape will soon have the chance to enjoy it even more.

Thanks to an initiative by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), the New Forest National Park Authority and the Forestry Commission.

The view of Vales Moor, near Burley, is currently spoiled by the view of over head, low voltage power lines. However, a project by SSE will soon see these buried underground.

SSE has around £1 million a year over the next four years to spend on burying power lines underground, in protected landscapes, such as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty across south-east England.

The process of burying power lines underground is an expensive one, costing around £100,000 per kilometre. Funds are intended for rural areas only.

In March this year the Authority consulted residents on which power lines affected their enjoyment of the Forest the most.

Through consultation with residents and SSE, Vales Moor was outlined as the preferred choice.

Since early spring, Scottish and Southern Energy have been working closely with the Forestry Commission, English Nature and the National Park, discussing the most suitable way of burying the cables underground.

This is a complex process which involved a number of site meetings between SSE and the Forestry Commission to help choose an appropriate route that would not disturb the Forest wildlife. These plans had to be approved by English Nature and the Verderers before being implemented.

Steve Trotter, Director of Conservation and Enhancement for the New Forest National Park, says: ‘We welcome this excellent initiative by SSE to tidy up some of south-east England’s most treasured views.  We faced stiff competition as organisations in 11 other protected areas are also eligible to apply for works.

‘We are excited that SSE saw the potential impact that burying power lines will have here on Vales Moor.

‘This project has also been an excellent opportunity to work in partnership with the Forestry Commission, English Nature and the Verderers to make a dramatic, positive impact on the environment.’

Will Parke, Forestry Commission Land Agent for the New Forest, said: ‘Burying cables across the Forest is something we’ve been keen to see implemented for some time and we’re really looking forward to enjoying an unbroken view across Vales Moor.

‘Hopefully this is just the beginning and we anticipate working in partnership with SSE, English Nature and the National Park Authority to clear further areas, recreating other uninterrupted views of the landscape for residents and visitors across the rest of the New Forest.’

The National Park is planning further bids to SSE next year.

-ends-

Media contacts
Karen Evans, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650
E-mail: karen.evans@newforestnpa.gov.uk

Emma Stevens, Communications Manager, Forestry Commission
Tel: 023 8028 6828
E-mail: emma.stevens@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

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