National Grid starts consultations on US$3.5 b project
The UK’s National Grid has started consultations on its £2.8 billion (US$3.5 billion) project to connect the Moorside nuclear power plant to the network, and protect the Lake District National Park.
The project will see a connection built onshore, heading north, from Moorside to an existing substation at Harker near Carlisle, as well as a southern route from Moorside, across the Furness peninsula and through a tunnel under Morecambe Bay, surfacing at an existing substation near Heysham, Lancashire.
This will create a ‘power ring’ around the northwest coast and provide Moorside with a secure connection to the grid and allow new generators to link into the electricity network in the future.
The plans include 23.4 km of new underground lines through the western section of the Lake District Park, which will reduce the impact on the Cumbrian environment and eliminate pylons from the park for the first time in 50 years.
Cables will also be passed through a £1.2billion (US$1.5 billion) 22 km tunnel under Morcambe Bay to avoid the south part of the park, with existing Electricity North West (ENW) owned pylons replaced with fewer, taller pylons that operate at a higher voltage.
As part of the consultation, nearly 90,000 newsletters have been mailed to homes and businesses along the route to explain the project to locals.
National Grid Project Manager Robert Powell said “We’ve undertaken significant engagement during the six years we have spent developing our plans.
“We’ve listened very carefully to groups like the Lake District National Park Authority, the National Trust and members of the public on the importance of the national park and other treasured landscapes in Cumbria and Lancashire.
“Balancing the impact of the project on the landscape against its cost has involved making some difficult choices as the cost of building a connection is ultimately passed on to energy bill payers.
“We believe the proposal we are going to consult on over the coming months strikes the best balance.
“Our consultation will now give people a chance to have their say on the fine detail of the project.”
Engineers have already developed proposals for the tunnel under Morecambe Bay which will avoid putting new lines through the southern part of the Lake District.
It is estimated that £1.9 billion (US$2.4 billion) will be spent putting sections of the connection out of sight, accounting for more than 50 per cent of the overall cost of the project.
The company has also contacted landowners and occupiers along the route and are carrying out surveys in some locations to gather vital information.
The consultation period closes on 6 January 2017.
For more information visit the National Grid website.
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Images courtesy of National Grid