- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Joyce Watson AM has said Wales must receive a “fair share” of a half-a-billion pound fund to reduce the visual impact of power lines.
Energy regulator Ofgem has allocated £500 million to the six-year Visual Impact Provision Project (VIP). Led by National Grid, it will carry out work to help reduce the view-spoiling impact of existing transmission lines in English and Welsh Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks.
Speaking at Assembly Question Time on Wednesday (21 January 2015), the Labour Mid and West AM called on Welsh ministers to make sure Wales’ three National Parks and five AONBs benefit from the scheme.
Natural Resources Minister, Carl Sargeant AM, responded, saying:
“Two of the 12 shortlisted projects are in national parks in Wales. Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority intends to submit proposals for a £25 million-bid for soft landscaping funding, when that becomes available.
The project launched this month and is expected to run until 2021. A Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG), comprising organisations including the Campaign for National Parks, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Campaign to Protect Rural Wales, English Heritage, Cadw, Natural England and the National Trust, is helping National Grid to identify which transmission lines should be prioritised and how the fund should be allocated. Initial areas prioritised include Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia national parks.
National Grid will now carry out a feasibility consultation on proposals for each of the priority areas, before making a final decision on whether to give them the go ahead in spring of 2015.
Mrs Watson added: “We all benefit from the UK’s extensive electricity network – but this project provides a real opportunity to help reduce the impact on our treasured landscapes.”