How often has your enjoyment of a beautiful landscape been reduced by the impact of intrusive overhead power lines? The Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB, together with the other protected landscapes (AONBs and National Parks) in Eastern England, is working with UK Power Networks and Natural England to develop priority schemes to underground these unsightly lines.
Ofgem the industry regulator has provided a budget of £5.6 million for the period 2010 - 2015 in the East of England. The AONBs and the Broads Authority will be working with UK Power Networks (who own the cables) and local communities to develop suitable undergrounding schemes. These will be vetted by a steering group using criteria designed to ensure the work is achievable, cost-effective and has a positive impact on the landscape.
The AONB has already enabled high profile schemes at Blythburgh Marshes and Iken/Aldeburgh to demonstrate the potential of this new funding. At Blythburgh for example, with the support of the local community, up to 2km of overhead low voltage was 'under grounded', vastly improving the views across a highly protected landscape with important heritage and wildlife value.
To date approximately £2.36m of external funding has been or will be invested in the AONB to pay for schemes at Blythburgh, Iken/Aldeburgh, Chillesford, Shotley/Erwarton, Sutton Common and Shingle Street.
Realistically the AONB might achieve one more scheme from the current round of funding and we are prioritising key schemes for any future funding that becomes available. So if you know of overhead electricity lines that detract from the AONB and would provide wide benefit by being buried let us know!
For more information contact Paula Booth, Planning & Development Officer, on 01394 445225 or at firstname.lastname@example.org