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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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New-build 'will fail if we oppose power lines’ - MP

MP Jamie Reed has hit back over negative reaction towards power line proposals for connecting Copeland’s planned ‘Moorside’ nuclear station to the national grid.

Two of the six options now out for initial consultation could see hundreds of 180ft high pylons erected between West Cumbria and Carlisle, encroaching into parts of the Lake District National Park.

As yet there is no preferred option – a more detailed consultation will follow for public views – but Copeland’s Labour MP is already worried that ‘negativity’ over high-voltage pylons could have serious repercussions.

He issued a stark warning: “Plans for new nuclear build in Copeland will fail unless local partners are prepared to act reasonably and intelligently to help make the project a success.”

He told The Whitehaven News: “We have worked for years to attract a new nuclear investment. It has always been the case that power produced by new nuclear build would have to be transmitted somehow and I am determined to do everything I can to make sure this project goes ahead successfully.

“If anyone is surprised by the need to transmit this electricity with pylons then frankly they are not living in the real world.”

With NuGen predicting the biggest ever single private sector investment for West Cumbria through the Moorside development at Sellafield, Mr Reed said: “This amounts to many billions of pounds and many thousands of new jobs, massive boosts for our local economy. These should not be put at risk.”

National Grid’s task is to provide a connection into the existing transmission network for both the power station and for a number of wind farms in the Irish Sea.

An earlier study showed that it will cost up to £20 million per kilometre more to lay electricity-carrying cables underground than it would for pylons spaced about 365 metres apart over around 50 miles.

For Copeland Council, leader Elaine Woodburn said: “As with any such projects, people will be very forthcoming with their views on the options but we want a circuit that does the job with regard to power transmitting but is also sympathetic of the wonderful environment we live in.

“This new consultation is the start of an important process for West Cumbria. The North West Coast Connections project is crucial not only for Moorside nuclear power station but also for other developments in the energy sector and for any future industrial developments.

“National Grid have produced a series of options for how this area can have an improved connection to the grid. We will now be considering these to identify the options that we think work best for Copeland and will formally respond to the consultation.

“This is an opportunity for the public to also have their say but we recognise that many will want to wait until more detailed routes are proposed.

“However we will be promoting the consultations to our residents so that people know how to have their say should they want to.”

Like Mr Reed, the chairman of the West Cumbria (nuclear sites) Stakeholders Group, David Moore, felt there was too much focus on negativity.

He said: “We have always known there are going to be pylons. If people want power then pylons are a fact of life.

“I appreciate concerns but keeping the lights on is important.

“We in West Cumbria are going to provide electricity for the rest of the country, supporting both the national and our own local economy, so it is imperative we get power out to the national grid. Pylons may be the price we have to pay.

“That said, we have to look at all the options. Sensitive parts of the countryside might be protected by going underground although I accept that pylons will form the majority transmission

“While there is the expense of laying underground cables I have said before that this might be done in conjunction with developing a new road to the south of Copeland.”

Cumbria County Council’s portfolio holders for the environment and nuclear issues, Tim Knowles, said: “We are ensuring that we find the least worst solution to linking up these new power generation activities.

“We can’t stop it because the decisions will be made by government.

“It would however be difficult for government to do something that would be completely unacceptable to the majority of Cumbrians.

“I’ve made it very clear to government that if they expect us to take new pylons in Cumbria they can’t expect us to take 400ft wind turbines in the same area.

“There will have to be a clear understanding that we will not have our landscape ruined for the rest of the country.

“All we have at the moment are lines on a map. We have to turn them into 3D images to understand the impact on the visual landscape.”

Although a strong supporter of the nuclear industry, Coun Knowles stressed: “We need to look at the impact on tourism and communications, we have to be mindful of issues like health. I think it is inevitable there will be an impact on the Cumbrian landscape.”

The Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) is among the statutory consultees.

Along with 16 local authorities in the north of England, it has signed the Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) setting out how people will be consulted over the next two years.

For the LDNPA, Chris Warren said: “We must recognise the challenges some of the options could pose to the National Park landscape. Our members are aware of all the options and have already had initial discussions and will meet again in a few weeks to consider their response.”

Unveiling details of the initial proposals, Peter Fendley, senior project manager for National Grid, said: “We’re still at an early stage of the project and we have now reached the point of needing to ask local authorities and other important organisations including National England and the National Park Authority for their feedback on the options we have identified and the important issues they feel we should consider as we continue to develop our proposals.”

A more detailed consultation will follow next year.

“We will welcome comments from individuals and local organisations on our preliminary findings but it is important to stress we will not be making decisions about the technology we’ll be using to make connections at this stage. This is largely option and route dependent,” said Mr Fendley.

Have your say

Refering back to my comment about the effects pylons have i have posted this link that gives information in this matter,i would suggest ms Wooburn and Mr reed look up health facts relating to pylons instead of pushing them through without any thought or idea of what they are talking about,their are interesting facts that people in this country are deliberatly mis-informed about or mislead.http://www.equilibra.uk.com/emfsbio.shtml

Posted by James O on 30 May 2012 at 12:33

Is mr reed aware of the energy these pylons emit within 100 to 300 mtrs,the energy they emit is stong enough to cause metal on metal sparks similar to an electric lighter,and some metals like tape measures to start buzzing and give static electric shocks when opened just by the energy emited by the atmosphere surrounding them, this energy can cause many problems within a persons body and can cause cell breakdown if long term exposure happens, perhaps he should make the public aware of this before he shows his support.

Posted by James O on 29 May 2012 at 09:47

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