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We have joined the Friends of the Lake District and other objectors in fighting National Grid’s plan to erect gigantic pylons on the western boundary of the Lake District National Park.
The pylons are part of the North West Coast Connections project. National Grid wants to impose them along the Whicham valley and around the head of the Duddon estuary. They are eight times the size of the existing pylons, being nearly twice as tall and seven times the volume.
National Grid appears to ignore the setting of the Lake District National Park, claiming that there is no landscape impact from the new pylons on views of the national park from outside the boundary. This is not so, they will be seen against the backcloth of the national park, and will be highly visible from within the park as well.
The land crossed by the pylons is part of the same Landscape Character Type (as defined in the Natural England’s Landscape Character Assessment) as the national park itself since the boundary does not follow landscape types but rather convenient physical features such as roads and rivers. The landscape either side of the park boundary in the Whicham valley is the same, and the proposed pylons will be extremely destructive to that landscape.
Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘We deplore National Grid’s plan to erect an army of massive pylons marching across this splendid landscape. They will be visible from miles around, from within and outside the national park, and will destroy the lovely setting of the fells and the Duddon estuary.
‘We believe that these pylons will jeopardise the Lake District’s bid for World Heritage Status as well as ruining people’s enjoyment of this splendid, unparalleled landscape. Income from tourism is crucial to the Lake District’s economy and this could well be impaired if the landscape is trashed.
‘There are many commons in the vicinity, where the public has the right to roam freely on foot, and in many places on horseback. The pylons would have a severe effect on people’s enjoyment of the commons, such as the massive Black Combe to the west of the Whicham valley.
‘We call on National Grid to abandon its current plans and instead consider alternative locations which will not damage a unique landscape,’ Kate declares.