Hinkley Connection Project welcomes John Penrose MP

Weston, Worle and the Villages MP visits construction activity in the Mendip Hills AONB

On Friday 15 October, John Penrose MP toured the Hinkley Connection Project to see the progress being made with the undergrounding of high-voltage electricity cables under the Mendip Hills AONB, between Loxton and the under-construction Sandford substation.

Mr Penrose inspected the joint bays – where each 1km cable section is connected together – and witnessed the last of the major ducting work, following completion of archaeological mitigation in the area. He met and discussed the works with engineers and cabling specialists from National Grid and its principal contractor, Balfour Beatty.

Making this part of the AONB pylon-free will be a great step forward...

Over 80% of the cables have now been installed, with the remaining due for completion by February next year. Next follows a programme of jointing, testing and energisation by end October 2022, then full reinstatement and completion of the Mendips Cables works by 2024.

Once the cable pull is complete and the existing pylons removed later in 2022, this area of the AONB will be pylon free for the first time since the 1960s. It's part of a 57km high-voltage electricity line between Bridgwater and Avonmouth, which will connect new sources of low-carbon energy, including Hinkley Point C, to homes and businesses.

Commenting on the visit, Mr Penrose said: “Making this part of the AONB pylon-free will be a great step forward and it was a privilege to meet the teams installing the new technology too. They also told me about significant archaeological discoveries during the excavations, which uncovered fresh evidence of what our ancestors were up to in this area more than a thousand years ago.”

James Goode, Project Director for National Grid, added: “We were delighted to welcome Mr Penrose to site and demonstrate the progress made since we started the cable pull in February this year, talk him through the remainder of the programme – including the reinstatement works – and how we have been working with the local community and landowners in the surrounding areas.”