National Grid announces undergrounding consultation deadline

06/06/2011

National Grid is announcing that the company’s public consultation on its approach to undergrounding new powerlines is due to finish on Monday 4 July 2011.

National Grid is inviting anyone who would like to comment but has not yet done so to complete the questionnaire on the consultation website at www.nationalgridundergrounding.com by the closing date. Anyone with further questions can contact National Grid by:

• Calling the project information number: 0800 319 6175
• Sending an email to: info@nationalgridundergrounding.com
• Writing to: National Grid Undergrounding Consultation, Freepost NAT3717, London SE1 2BR 

National Grid is currently revising its approach to undergrounding. The company has been consulting the public, industry, government, environmental and other organisations so that they can help shape how the company decides when to underground new transmission lines.

Hector Pearson, National Grid stakeholder and policy manager, said: “We have had an excellent response so far. I would like to thank everyone who has commented already and encourage anyone who would like to contribute to contact us before the closing date. We are very keen to hear people's views and their opinions will help shape our approach.”

The decision to close the consultation follows an announcement by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) that further work will be needed to complete an independent study into the comparative costs of installing new high voltage transmission power cables under the ground, sub-sea or as overhead lines.

The study was commissioned at the request of the Department of Energy and Climate Change and at the instigation of the Infrastructure Planning Commission Chairman Sir Michael Pitt. It was being prepared by energy consultancy KEMA, with the IET providing quality assurance of the work. The study is now not due for completion until later this year. For more information go to: http://www.theiet.org/about/media-centre/press-releases/20110603.cfm

Mr Pearson said: “We expect to publish our revised approach to undergrounding later this summer. We would have liked to have had access to the final analysis of undergrounding costs before we further developed our new approach. When the IET study is available we will look very carefully at the final analysis of undergrounding costs and review its approach in light of any new findings.

National Grid last reviewed its undergrounding approach in the early 1990s. With a significant amount of new power generation needing to connect to the high voltage electricity transmission network in the coming years, including low carbon generators such as nuclear power and wind farms, the company believes that it is an opportune time to review its approach.

When planning a new transmission connection, National Grid is often asked to consider putting cables underground rather than building overhead lines in order to protect views of local landscapes.  However there are many considerations involved with undergrounding owing to its cost, environmental impacts and technical considerations. 

Mr Pearson added: “When planning to connect a new generator to its network, National Grid looks at different methods, including overhead lines, underground cables and subsea cables. As a transmission operator, we need to comply with statutory duties such as building a network that is efficient, coordinated and economic to construct, operate and maintain. 

“We need to manage the costs of these projects responsibly as these costs will ultimately be paid for by electricity consumers.  However, we also need to consider the impact on the local landscape and communities of what we build.”

-Ends-

For further media information only, please contact Jane Taylor on 07785 220647 or Sara Wilcox 01926 655271 or 07899 983792.

Notes to Editors

National Grid
National Grid is an international electricity and gas company and one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world. We play a vital role in delivering gas and electricity to millions of people across Great Britain and northeastern US in an efficient, reliable and safe manner. We believe the power of action can play a major role in safeguarding our global environment for future generations and tackling the effects of climate change, providing all our customers with the highest standards of service through network investment and through our talented, diverse workforce.

National Grid owns the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales and operates the system across Great Britain. It also owns and operates the high pressure gas transmission system in Britain and its distribution business delivers gas to 11 million homes and businesses.

National Grid manages the National Gas Emergency Service freephone line 0800 111 999*.  

*All calls are recorded and may be monitored.