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Power lines coming down at Chartham Downs

Electricity lines are being diverted underground at the foot of Chartham Downs near Canterbury to improve a nationally-important landscape.

From Press releases - 13 May 2015 12:00 AM

Power lines coming down at Chartham Downs.jpg

Electricity lines are being diverted underground at the foot of Chartham Downs near Canterbury to improve a nationally-important landscape.

Local electricity distributor, UK Power Networks, is carrying out the £482,000 project at Petham thanks to a special funding allowance designed to enhance special landscapes, including the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Electricity engineers from the firm have been installing new high-voltage underground cables in trenches to replace the overhead lines. Once the new underground cables go live a 2.8-mile section of the network and 43 wooden poles will be permanently removed.

The project was nominated by Kent Downs AONB unit as part of a special allowance which UK Power Networks has to underground power lines in protected areas of countryside in the South East and East of England. Across Kent the company has carried out similar projects at Folkestone, Westerham, Saltwood, Lamberhurst, St Margaret’s at Cliffe, Cobham Park, Detling, Ightham Mote, Throwley and Brightling Down.

Shaun Barrell, UK Power Networks’ protected areas project officer, said: “The overhead lines have been a significant feature on the landscape as the countryside is relatively open. We are delighted to be working closely with local countryside experts to enhance some of our best-loved areas of countryside by undergrounding power lines.”

The equipment runs through pasture at the bottom of Chartham Downs. Two separate lines form distinct routes across the landscape and meet in the corner of a field where the electricity infrastructure is especially noticeable.

Tim Owen, from Kent Downs AONB, said: “This area is well used by walkers and horse riders and until now the power lines have been very visible, running alongside or over local paths. Removing these man-made structures will instantly have a positive impact on the local countryside. We welcome this chance to work with UK Power Networks again on further improvements to this remote landscape, which is characterised by rolling valleys and scattered farms.”

Since 2010 UK Power Networks has invested £12.9m in the South East and East Anglia to underground 90km power lines, improving the views in AONBs and national parks. Each project is chosen by a regional steering group of environment experts, including the Kent Downs AONB, and chaired by Natural England. UK Power Networks provides technical support and guidance to the group and carries out the projects.