In May 2016, National Grid launched the Landscape Enhancement Initiative (LEI) in the 30 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks that contain their electricity infrastructure. Over 6 years (to March 2021) the LEI will allocate £24 million to reducing the visual impact of the transmission lines and improving the related visual quality of these nationally-important protected landscapes.
The LEI supports projects that screen or soften views of the power lines; where the impact of the electricity line cannot be addressed directly, it will support projects that ‘shift the balance’ of the impacts by enhancing the local environment in other ways. Schemes must be submitted by the AONB and National Park Partnerships who then distribute the funds locally to individual projects.
Our current project
The High Weald is the first AONB to benefit from the scheme. The Beautiful Boundaries scheme, led by us, was approved for a £200,000 grant by a national panel in May 2017. Four other projects were given the go-ahead in the North York Moors, Peak District and Snowdonia National Parks.
With the £200,000 grant for Beautiful Boundaries we are working with 10 landowners to plant 3km of new hedges, restore 5km of historic hedges, protect 5.5km of ancient woodland boundary and plant 230 trees. The map below displays the project catchment area - a more detailed, zoomable map can be downloaded here: Beautiful Boundaries project catchment area
We are keen to make the most of the LEI and are asking land owners and managers, as well as the wider community, to be proactive in contacting us with ideas for large or small-scale environmental projects that fall within the project area (see map). Projects that remove or screen other visual 'detractors' i.e. other unsightly features, would be welcomed. Our project officers will make it easy for you to benefit from the scheme, helping with developing and costing projects and implementation if required.