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27/07/2011: Poles axed throughout areas of outstanding natural beauty

Electricity poles are set to be felled in the Lake District National Park and North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) as part of a multimillion-pound project to ‘underground’ electricity cables and improve views of this special landscape.

Electricity North West, the company responsible for the regional electricity network, will dismantle 73 poles and almost 6km of wires in the region, including the fields between Stanah and Legburthwaite (alongside the busy A591 Keswick to Grasmere Road), Cape Asbestos, near Staveley, Kentmere Hall and between Castle Carrock and Geltsdale.

They will be replaced by networks of underground cables, which will connect homes and businesses in the area to the electricity grid.

The work forms part of a five-year, £5.4m project by Electricity North West to underground lines identified as being most visually intrusive within the National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the North West.

Electricity North West has worked closely with representatives of each area and environment groups to develop the project plans.

The company also consulted with Natural England to ensure that all of the engineering works will comply with their priorities over existing terrain, wildlife and flora. A specialist ecologist has been consulted as the Staveley area contains Himalayan Balsam, which needs to be treated carefully.

Jonathan Booth, asset planning manager, at Electricity North West, said: “This is a fantastic scheme that will make a real difference to this special landscape. As we will be working in a National Park, our engineers will be aiming to minimise disruption and will take into account the need to preserve the natural environment.”

Andrew Herbert, Head of Environment and Heritage at the Lake District National Park, said, “We’re working closely with Electricity North West to look after the stunning landscape of the national park and we welcome these improvements to the visual appearance. I’m sure that visitors and local people will appreciate the work that is being done by our partners to remove overhead lines and open up even better views.”

Simon Wilson, Project Development Officer with the North Pennines AONB Partnership, who leads on cable undergrounding work said: “It is excellent that Electricity North West is delivering this scheme within the North Pennines. Undergrounding electricity lines in the most sensitive parts of the AONB can have a huge positive impact on the quality of the landscape that is enjoyed by thousands of visitors. It has been particularly welcoming to see how positively local communities have responded to the opportunity to become involved in identifying potential schemes, a good indication of how valuable they feel the programme is.”

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