The National Grid has shortlisted a section of transmission line in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) as a priority for a £500 million fund that seeks to reduce the visual impact of electricity infrastructure in nationally protected landscapes across England and Wales.
The transmission line which is located near Battle Abbey, the site of the 1066 Battle of Hastings has been identified as having a significant landscape and visual impact by an independent study overseen by leading landscape expert Professor Carys Swanwick.
The study assessed 571 km of the National Grid's transmission lines in England and Wales's most treasured landscapes. The section of transmission line in the High Weald is one of twelve sections of line that have been shortlisted for further assessment.
The other eight protected landscapes which have been singled out as having existing transmission lines with the most significant visual impact are the: Brecon Beacons National Park; Dorset AONB; New Forest National Park; North Wessex Downs AONB; Peak District National Park; Snowdonia National Park; and Tamar Valley AONB.
Decisions about the High Weald transmission line and other shortlisted sites will be made in Spring 2015 following engagement with local stakeholders and further investigation of technical feasibility, economic, social, archaeological, environmental and heritage issues.
Engineering measures which may be used to mitigate the visual impact of sections of transmission lines in some of the shortlisted locations include the replacement of existing overhead lines with underground cables, the re-routeing of existing lines, through to the screening of substations or overhead lines from public viewpoints.
National Grid is also set to use part of the £500 million fund for smaller, localised visual improvement projects which can be accessed by all AONBs and National Parks with existing National Grid electricity infrastructure.
Sally Marsh, High Weald AONB Co-Director comments 'The High Weald is an outstanding medieval landscape, facing significant development pressure. We welcome this exciting opportunity to enhance the setting of an iconic historic site and the proposals for engaging local stakeholders as part of further assessment'.
Map and images of the shortlisted section of transmission line
General information about the Visual Impact Provision project
Register for project updates with National Grid
More information about protected landscapes
More information about the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty