The pylons across Suffolk saga rumbles on, and although the danger has probably receded for Waldingfield Ward, others in the South of the District continue to argue for a more sensitive and holistic approach from National Grid.
In this connection, I thought that the Pylon Appreciation Society, which is lead by the rather suspiciously named Flash Bristow, was a practical joke and didn’t actually exist in reality, but it seems that I am wrong.
On the Today programme yesterday morning Ms Bristow, from the Society, was invited to debate the pylon issue with Tessa Munt, the Liberal Democrat MP, who is fighting the march of these monsters across her Somerset constituency.
I notice from the Pylon Appreciation Society’s website that Ms Bristow lives in Leytonstone, but spends her time out and about photographing pylons while extolling their aesthetic and practical benefits. I suppose that if you live in Leytonstone you are not too bothered about the adverse impact that these eyesores represent for the minority who live in rural areas. The National Grid invariably buries pylons in urban areas. It irritated me to hear Ms Bristow repeat the oft repeated claim from National Grid that it is 12 to 17 times more expensive to ‘underground’ transmission cables. We all know now that this is a misleading exaggeration.
|More blots on the landscape.|
Recently, according to the Times, Dr Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, wrote to Chris Huhne arguing that it is in fact cheaper to bury power lines underground, or to reroute lines under the sea. He claims that National Grid in making its back of envelope calculations has neither taken into account the lower cost of maintenance for buried cables, and also the fact that far less power is lost in transmission. Over forty years, taking these factors into account, pylons due to be built in Somerset would cost £1.1m, whereas a buried line would cost only half this amount.
“If we are to have credible green credentials then the decision needs to be taken on more than short-term economics ignoring the environmental impact in the longer term,” Dr Fox wrote in his letter.
This seems right to me, and it also seems a good principle to adopt when looking at planning issues in general. I wonder if the Government will extrapolate from Dr Fox's principles when it comes to reviewing their planning guidance? I am afraid that I have my doubts.