Dorset Visual Impact Provision
The Dorset AONB was designated in 1959. It covers nearly all of the Dorset coast and significant areas inland. The geology is strongly expressed along the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site, and it gives rise to a varied landscape of downland, ridges and vales.
Two of National Grid’s electricity transmission lines run through this AONB. The independent landscape assessment concluded that three sections of these lines have landscape and visual impacts of very high importance. One of these sections runs from the South Dorset Escarpment in a north-easterly direction through a shallow vale towards Broadmayne. The other two sections run from Spyway in the west to the head of Stancombe in the east, and from Winterbourne Abbas south-east to the edge of the South Dorset Escarpment at Bronkham Hill, respectively.
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At the Stakeholder Advisory Group meeting in September 2015, the section of line near Winterbourne Abbas in the Dorset AONB was prioritised as one of the four sections of line to be taken forward as a potential undergrounding project. This section of line is now subject to ongoing and detailed technical feasibility works which will include environmental studies, archaeological studies and engineering work ‘on the ground’.
We are continuing to work closely with the Dorset AONB Partnership as well as the local authorities, landowners, and statutory consultees to progress our plans, as well as engaging with local stakeholders and communities.
The sections of line within the Dorset AONB which run from the South Dorset Escarpment in a north-easterly direction through a shallow vale towards Broadmayne and from Spyway in the west to the head of Stancombe in the east were not prioritised.
Although four schemes have been prioritised in England and Wales, these two sections of line in the Dorset AONB remain on the shortlist and remain under consideration for future work to reduce the impact of National Grid’s transmission lines under the VIP project.
A significant amount of stakeholder work has been carried out in this area following the original landscape assessment in November 2014, including holding public drop-in events in Winterbourne Abbas and Martinstown and establishing a stakeholder reference group. The Options Appraisal Study provides further detail on the progress that has been made on this project. This report can be downloaded above.