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21/03/12: Electricity poles taken down in Gisburn Forest

Electricity poles are being taken down in Lancashire’s largest forest on Friday 23 March as part of a project by Electricity North West to restore the area’s natural beauty.

The company, which looks after the region’s electricity network, has invested £114,000 in the project to replace 12 overhead line poles in Gisburn Forest with more than a kilometre of underground cable.

Popular with walkers, horse riders and mountain bikers, the forest was identified as an area which could be significantly improved by moving the overhead lines underground.

Jonathan Booth, asset planning manager, at Electricity North West, said: “Gisburn Forest is one of the region’s most attractive parklands, drawing thousands of visitors every year.

“Our project to remove the electricity poles and overhead cables will dramatically improve the local landscape and allow the area's natural beauty to be restored while still providing electricity to customers nearby through underground cables.”

The existing overhead lines have provided power to the Stephen Park area of the forest for more than 35 years.

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

Electricity North West has worked closely with representatives from the Forest of Bowland AONB and the Forestry Commission to develop the project plans and avoid impacting on the local wildlife.

Elliott Lorimer, principal AONB officer, said: “It is great to see the poles coming down as quickly as they are and I am sure this work will be hugely appreciated by visitors to the Gisburn Forest. We’ve worked very closely with Electricity North West and we’re delighted with this project to enhance the landscape of the area.”

The project also comes as the Forestry Commission is working to extend the mountain biking facilities, for which the forest has become well known.

Martin Colledge, of the Forestry Commission, said: “Mountain biking is one of the key attractions of Gisburn Forest and we’re delighted that this work is taking place to improve the landscape for our future visitors.”

 

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