Kingsdale in the Yorkshire Dales has benefited from the burying of power lines

Kingsdale in the Yorkshire Dales has benefited from the burying of power lines

The Government body that oversees electricity distribution is recommending the extension of a scheme that has seen unsightly power lines buried in national parks.

The move was welcomed by the Campaign for National Parks which urged power companies to agree to the proposals from the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets – Ofgem – which this week put forward plans for pricing for the power distributers for the next five years. Under the existing scheme, both the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales have benefited from the ‘undergrounding’ of cables in areas where the poles and overhead cables were visually intrusive.

Overhead wires at Perryfoot in the Peak District before undergrounding

Overhead wires at Perryfoot in the Peak District before 'undergrounding'

The proposed £61m fund is part of the proposed pricing arrangements for the 14 electricity-distribution companies which will allow them to charge consumers an average extra 5.6 per cent a year.

The companies have until 6 January next year to accept the arrangements, which will take effect in April if agreed.

And the Perryfoot area after burial of the lines

And the Perryfoot area after burial of the lines

The fund for placing overhead wires in the ground will apply to both national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Ruth Chambers of the Campaign for National Parks said of the plans: “This is great news, especially during the 60th anniversary year of national parks and AONBs.

“The scheme has led to several unsightly lines being placed underground and we encourage all electricity companies to engage with local stakeholders at the earliest opportunity to draw up a wish list for the next five years so that the landscape benefits of the scheme can be maximised.”

The Ofgem scheme contrasts with the leaked plans for the Beauly to Denny power line through the Scottish Highlands, which has caused uproar among many outdoor groups including the John Muir Trust, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and Ramblers Scotland. If the proposals are given the green light, 600 pylons, 50m high, will be built to replace the existing power line.

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