The Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project in the Cotswolds National Landscape aims to reduce the visual impact of National Grid’s overhead line that runs over the Cotswold Plateau and along Cotswold Way.

Stakeholders have agreed that the best way to achieve this is to remove a section of this overhead line and replace it with electricity cables buried underground. This represents a major opportunity to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and environmental heritage of this precious Cotswold landscape. 

This engineering project is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the skyline in the Cotswolds.

The section of overhead line 

The section of National Grid transmission line we plan to remove is around 7km long, and runs from the north east of Dixton to the south east of Cheltenham.  

The line runs parallel to the Cotswold Way National Trail for much of its length, with many regional trails also crossing the area. As well as Cotswold Way, the existing overhead line can be seen from Belas Knap long barrow, the Winchcombe Trail, and Cleeve Common – the latter being very popular with dog walkers, horse riders, cyclists and ramblers.  

Why was this section selected? 

This section of line was identified by an independent landscape study as having landscape impacts of high importance. 

It's an area of huge national significance, with the World Conservation Union recognising the Cotswolds National Landscape as a Category V protected landscape – a protected area managed mainly for landscape protection and recreation. 

Most of the area is covered by farmland, and over half of the country's flower-rich (Jurassic) limestone grassland can be found in the Cotswolds. The line was judged to have visual impacts of high importance affecting users of the Cotswold Way National Trail and visitors to attractions such as Belas Knap burial ground and Cleeve Common.  

This is a long section of line across a classic Cotswold landscape, the topography and steep slopes making it a fascinating engineering challenge. 

Our work in the Cotswolds so far 

The project is still in its early stages. So far, we have been liaising with key stakeholders in the area to discuss the feasibility of the project and how best to approach improving the landscape. We have been undertaking surveys and developing our plans, speaking to technical experts in the region and local authorities to gather their input on our emerging plans. 

Countryside sunset

Contact us

If you or your organisation would like further information, please get in touch:

Email: [email protected]

Call: 0330 134 0051