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News - June 2011

Proposed Power Lines across mid-Wales and Shropshire

 

Submission from Shropshire Union Canal Society Ltd to National Grid regarding proposed power lines across mid-Wales and Shropshire

 

Introduction

The Shropshire Union Canal Society is a not for profit charity which has campaigned for the restoration of the Montgomery Canal for over 40 years. The Society's volunteers have carried out many restoration projects on the canal over this time. We have close to 1,000 members, most of whom have known the area for many years.

 

Summary of our views

The general feeling of the Shropshire Union Canal Society's Council is that the countryside will be utterly transformed by pylons in the landscape. All of the proposed pylon routes will have a detrimental impact on the visual landscape along the route of the Montgomery Canal.

 

General comments

The Montgomery Canal lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty. There is no significant industry and the whole area is essentially rural in nature. The route of the canal takes it through some the most spectacularly beautiful scenery in Britain. The canal, although man-made, is now recognised as being of international conservation importance, and as such has been designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Much its length comprises Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and it is home to 127 listed buildings and structures.

Whilst the canal is not yet fully restored, there is active and continuing restoration work which will lead to a visitor attraction of a similar importance to the very popular Llangollen Canal a few miles further to the north. The canal is fully navigable for 7 miles from its junction with the Llangollen Canal, as well as a further 11 mile section at Welshpool.

The northern section is in regular use by leisure boaters, and this will increase in stages over the coming years as the restoration proceeds. Where the canal is not yet fully navigable, it is used by canoeists and walkers. The canal makes a significant and growing contribution to the tourism economy of the region, and the restored canal is expected to be a significant boost to the future of the tourist economy in this part of the UK. The presence of miles of pylons in close proximity would have a huge detrimental effect on its attractiveness for visitors, as well as for local residents.

 

Comment on other alternatives not listed in the consultation

It is our firm belief that the cost of the transmission medium is only a part of the overall project cost and the cost of underground lines becomes less significant when seen as a part of the whole project including the power generation equipment and ancillary items such as substations.

 

Conclusions

Our most favoured option would be for the power lines to be below ground level in the vicinity of the Montgomery Canal.

As a secondary option we would favour routing the power lines as far away from the canal line as possible, even if for only part of the total length of the route.