Super pylon threat to Wordsworth’s long-loved Duddon Estuary

ELF has been assisting a community group of 600+ members in Cumbria, Power without Pylons (PWP), to respond to the final public National Grid (NG) consultation on joining up Moorside power station to the grid.

The major infrastructure proposals and Development Consent Order (DCO) process set out in ‘North West Coast Connections’ involve miles of new cabling through the landscape and coastal “setting” of the Lake District National Park (LDNP) – though original plans to go through the LDNP itself, have been dropped. PWP has been working in response to the proposals to put 50 new super pylons (each over 50 metres in height) around the Dudden Estuary, in some places metres from the boundary of the LDNP.

This area is a Ramsar site, an SAC (Special Area of Conservation), an SPA (Special Protection Area) and has three SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) as its component parts. NG plans to put the cabling off shore so as to avoid the landscape and nature impacts, which is the group’s preferred option, have been dropped due to issues of cost (a 7% increase) and technical difficulties.

Working with a new ELF barrister Stanzie Bell of Kings Chambers in Leeds and the group, ELF has been supporting PWP to put in their final response. The public consultation is now closed and ELF continues to work with the group going forward towards the DCO application stage.

Graham Barron of PWP said

“… thank you for all of your help – it was very useful!”

Members of the group living in and around the remote communities of the North West coast and LDNP already face the decommissioning of the old nuclear power plant and the construction of the new one, Moorside, with all their contingent impacts. The DCO process for the construction of Moorside is separate but running in parallel to the North West Coast Connections DCO process.

ELF remains concerned that the impacts of both DCO projects, have not been properly considered together and it isn’t until this final public consultation stage that the “cumulative effects” have been (for the first time) considered.

This means that the environmental statement reporting on the anticipated “significant cumulative effects” of the two projects as stated by the applicant in its summary report, will now not be open to the front loaded consultative process of the DCO, in line with the public participation requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.

ELF will be seeking support from within the ELF membership on this and if you would be interested in helping us to explore the issue of “cumulative effects” do get in touch.

Further reporting on this case here

And PWP’s newsletter here