Portbury action group to launch to fight pylon plans

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By Prue_Reid | Thursday, December 13, 2012, 19:21

AN ACTION group is to be set up in Portbury – to continue to fight against changes to the route of a powerline through the village.

Parish council chairman Pete Cooke wants to set up a residents and council action group to continue to fight plans by National Grid to put a new 400,000 overhead line right through the village.

Initially the energy giant had planned to route the line - complete with 150ft pylons - over Caswell Lane onto Portishead sub-station behind the Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve and out towards Avonmouth.

But in a last minute change put forward in the draft route consultation, the route has been changed so the line will follow the M5.

The line will effectively run between the village of Portbury and Sheepway, with the pylons just metres away from homes at Elm Tree Park and Priory Road.

Parish leaders say the change in route will dissect the parish and bring the pylons too close to local homes.

Earlier this month nearly 200 residents packed into a public meeting to voice their concerns to National Grid bosses about the change of route.

Villagers said they had not been consulted on the change - and it came as a bolt from the blue.

The action group will continue to lobby National Grid to change its plans.

Portbury Parish Council chairman Pete Cooke said: "We need to keep the pressure on National Grid.

"Residents need to make sure they are involved and have their say."

National Grid say the new 37-mile power line between Bridgwater and Avonmouth is needed to bring electricity onto its transmission network.

The energy giant said its original technical studies could not identify a direct route from Portbury towards Avonmouth.

The draft route for this section now lies outside its own preferred route corridor but National Grid say on balance the 'landscape and ecological benefits' justify the decision to make the change.

People have until Tuesday, December 18, to make comments on the draft route.

National Grid will then consult on more detailed proposals before making a formal application for consent to construct the connection.

The Government will make a decision based on a recommendation made by the planning Inspectorate.

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