Teifi Valley pylon concerns raised in Parliament

Ben Lake MP has urged the UK Government to make underground cabling the default method for installing new electricity grid infrastructure.

There are 4,500 miles of overhead electricity transmission lines in England and Wales. This contrasts with just over 900 miles of underground cables. ‘Undergrounding’, the replacement of overhead cables with underground cables, is used in limited circumstances, such as in nationally designated landscapes.

There have been calls for an increase in undergrounding. However, the government has pointed to several issues, including the higher cost of placing cables underground when using traditional open trenching methods. However, recent advancements in cable ploughing techniques have significantly reduced the cost of placing such cables underground, such that MPs are calling on the UK Government to adopt the method as their preferred approach to new grid infrastructure.

Green GEN Cymru is proposing a new 132kV overhead line to connect Lan Fawr Energy Park in West Wales to a new National Grid substation in Carmarthen. As part of the initial consultation process, significant concerns were raised by residents and businesses about the visual, environmental, and economic impact of the proposed overhead line – with several public meetings and campaign groups forming over recent MONTHS to oppose the proposals.

Concerns over the proposed Tywi Teifi network have previously been raised in the Senedd and last week Ben Lake MP reiterated calls for the undergrounding of transmission cables during a debate in Westminster Hall on Pylons and upgrading the National Grid. 


During his speech Mr Lake stated:

“What’s at heart here is this idea of just transition – of balancing the concerns of communities with the need for new infrastructure. Although definitions of just transition differ, my understanding of the concept is that it should see to bring about fairer outcomes from the transition to net zero by maximising the benefits of climate action and minimising the negative impact for communities.

“We all agree that the National Grid needs upgrading. It needs strengthening, but it is disappointing that the Government has, thus far, failed to truly consider the benefits and advantages of cable ploughing techniques.”

Mr Lake argued that installing transmission cables by using cable ploughing techniques, such as is used by a local company based in Pencader (ATP), could drastically reduce the cost and time taken to complete infrastructure upgrades. 


Mr Lake added:

“Cable ploughing could be a means of balancing the need for any new electricity infrastructure with the importance of minimising not only financial costs, but also unnecessary environmental impact and community opposition.”

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