Exciting plans to remove up to 12 pylons and around 4.5km of overhead electricity line near Roundway Hill and the Millennium White Horse in Devizes are about to be brought to life through a new interactive 360° virtual tour.
The scheme will see electricity cables going underground to significantly enhance the landscape and views north of Devizes as part of National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project*, which is a national programme to reduce the visual impact of existing high voltage power lines in selected areas across England and Wales.
Ben Smith, National Grid VIP Project Manager (South) said: “Roundway Hill with its tremendous history and stunning landscape is a fitting location for the first of a new wave of VIP projects. We have been delighted with the reaction from local experts, parishes and organisations at the prospect of removing the pylons but because of Covid-19 have not been able to share our emerging plans with many of them or the wider public.
“This virtual tour event is an excellent opportunity for local people to take a look and find out what it’s all about, both in terms of what this project will achieve and how we will manage the construction process. You can even remove the pylons at the click of a mouse – which will be a lot more complex in practice.”
Over the past eighteen months, National Grid has been surveying the area and exploring a range of potential routes for the new underground cables that would replace the pylons, and its plans have been refined with the advice of local experts and community representatives including from the North Wessex Downs AONB Partnership, Wiltshire Council, Natural England and Historic England.
National Grid now has a way of sharing these plans more broadly via the project’s website http://northwessexdowns.nationalgrid.co.uk/ which includes information on the project, it’s fascinating archaeology and demonstrates the engineering challenges, as well as the virtual tour.
Henry Oliver, North Wessex Downs AONB Manager said: “We are proud that the beauty and living history of North Wessex Downs AONB has been recognised and is part of this world-leading project to enhance the most beautiful landscapes of the UK. The North Wessex Downs is the third largest AONB in England covering four counties and has more than its fair share of pylons.
“We’re delighted that we’ve been selected for going underground and want to work with National Grid and the community to make the most of this exciting opportunity for wildlife, for the landscape and for people.”
Ben Smith concluded: “Following the successful progress of our VIP project down the road in Dorset, we’re pleased to now be working here in Wiltshire. It’s really important that local people take a look at our plans and what this section of the skyline could look like pylon free. We want them to feed back through the website, via email or over the phone, let us know what they think and tell us if they think their school or community group might be able to get involved.”
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