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26/01/12: Poles axed to improve views from National Trail

Electricity poles have been felled in the Tunstead area of the Peak District National Park, as part of a £90,000 investment to move electricity cables underground and improve views from the Pennine Bridleway National Trail.

Electricity North West, the company responsible for the North West regional electricity network, has taken down the 20 wooden electricity poles that carried 1.2km of overhead lines between Tunstead and Wormhill.

 Before...                                                                   ...and after: The new improved view

The Pennine Bridleway is one of only 15 routes to be assigned National Trail status in England and Wales and the first to be designed specifically for horse-riders, off-road cyclists and walkers to enjoy.

After considering a number of projects in the region at the request of Friends of the Peak District and the Peak District National Park Authority, Electricity North West provided funding for the scheme at Tunstead to vastly improve views of the landscape from the trail.

The overhead equipment has been replaced by 1.2km of underground cable that will connect residents in the area to the electricity network.

The Tunstead work is part of a five-year, £5.4m project by the company to move the most visually-intrusive electricity lines underground within the North West’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The company has worked with Friends of the Peak District and the Peak District National Park Authority, to identify areas that would most benefit from the work, while ensuring that local wildlife and archaeology are protected during the engineering work.

With this particular scheme, specific care was taken to avoid carrying out work during the badger mating season given the number of badgers in the area.

Jonathan Booth, asset planning manager, at Electricity North West, said: “This is a fantastic scheme that has made real difference to a special landscape. Our engineers worked with great care to minimise disruption and preserve the special qualities of the Park.”

Martin Burfoot, landscape architect at the Peak District National Park Authority, said "This project is just one of many undergrounding schemes we and Friends of the Peak District are discussing and similar projects are currently being carried out on other sites in the National Park or are planned in the near future. All will help to enhance the visual quality of important landscapes and villages".

Andrew Tickle, head of planning and campaigning at Friends of the Peak District, said: “We have worked closely with Electricity North West and the National Park Authority to help look after the stunning landscape of the National Park and we welcome these improvements to the appearance of the area.

“I’m sure that visitors and local people are already appreciating the work and enjoying the even better views.”

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