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Power lines to go at Shropshire beauty spot

By Dominic Robertson | Church Stretton | News | Published:

One of Shropsihre's most picturesque settings will be getting even more attractive - with overhead power lines being taken down to improve the scenery.

The views around the historic farm of Acton Scott, which sits near Church Stretton in the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are seeing electricity poles removed by Western Power Distribution (WPD) and supplies routed underground.

The company says it is also carrying out work to improve the supply to 104 customers.

Rupert Acton, of the Acton Scott Estate said the work would have a hugely beneficial effect on the landscape.

He said: “The Acton Scott Estate welcomes the undergrounding of part of Western Power’s network of overhead powerlines. This will significantly reduce the visible power distribution infrastructure across the Historic Working Farm site and more widely across adjoining farmland.

Acton Scott Working Farm

"The undergrounding of this infrastructure will enhance the landscape, to the benefit of local residents, visitors to Acton Scott Historic Working Farm and those using the extensive rights-of-way network.”

WPD wayleave manager Beckie Downing said: “This work is being funded through a regulatory-backed initiative to enhance protected landscapes by removing electrical infrastructure like overhead lines.  We work closely with representatives from National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to identify suitable sites for consideration.

"This has been really helpful to pinpoint high priority schemes and enable the limited funds to be spent as effectively as possible.”

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Substations

Phil Holden, Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership Manager, said: “We are really pleased to work with WPD on this scheme and programme of undergrounding of cables, which helps to enhance the landscape of the Shropshire Hills AONB in some important locations.”

So far WPD has removed 22 poles and high voltage and low voltage lines close to the Acton Scott estate, replacing them with 1,200m of underground cable.

Two pole-mounted substations have also been removed and replaced with a ground-mounted substation.

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Three remaining poles will be removed in the next few weeks.

WPD has said that the £170,000 scheme will also deliver a more secure supply to 104 customers.

The company said the work will be of a benefit thousands of visitors to the Acton Scott Estate.

A spokesman said: "The estate’s preservation of 19th century farming practices will be no longer be undermined by views of 20th century electricity supplies."

WPD said the three-month project was not without its challenges.

As well as the farm, the site also includes a scheduled ancient monument – a Roman villa set within an Iron Age enclosure that had to be worked around.

In addition, the route crossed roads where closure would have caused significant disruption to residents.

WPD said it brought in specialist contractors to carry out directional drilling under the roads, to avoid any closures.

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