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Power lines removed at South Walsham Marshes


Tuesday 21 January, 2020


Removing overhead power lines and 24 poles that have been standing in South Walsham marshes since England won the World Cup, has been dubbed a “spectacular success”.

UK Power Networks, which owns and operates the electricity network delivering power to 8.3 million properties across the East, South East and London, partnered with the Broads Authority for the £750,000 project.

Around 2.4km of overhead power lines have been removed and the cables were installed underground improving the view, avoiding the risk of birds flying into overhead lines and making electricity supplies more reliable in the long term.

Kevin Hart, Director of Nature Conservation at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, which owns and manages a proportion of South Walsham marshes, said: “The visual impact of removing the poles and overhead cables from South Walsham marshes has been significant – the now unimpeded views of the landscape with wide open skies brings back the impression of remoteness and wildness. As well as enhancing the character of the marshes, removal of the overhead lines will also lead to enhanced breeding productivity of marshland ground nesting species such as lapwing and redshank. Carrion crows and other avian predators can no longer perch on the cables, pinpointing where nests are on the ground to prey on. The marshes will provide better breeding habitat for a number of species as a result of this work.”

The scheme is funded by a special allowance, granted by electricity industry regulator Ofgem, to improve the landscape in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks.

The Broads National Park covers more than 300sq km in total. The area is famous for its wildlife and is home to a quarter of the UK’s rarest species. South Walsham Marshes is used as seasonal grazing land with water levels next to the River Bure kept purposely high to make it an ideal habitat for birds such as common cranes.

Shaun Barrell, AONB project lead for UK Power Networks said: “Over the years we have ‘undergrounded’ 63 km of cabling in the East of England and we are really pleased that we have added 2.4km at South Walsham Marshes, to that total. Sustainability and the environment are very important to us and we are happy that our workforce and expertise have made a big difference to this important area of Norfolk.”
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