July 31 2014 Latest news:
Donna-Louise Bishop, Reporter
Thursday, April 10, 2014
A 17th century north Norfolk house will soon be able to give its thousands of yearly visitors better views across its estate thanks to a new £170,000 power line improvement scheme.
Company UK Power Networks is removing around 1.6km of 11,000-volt overhead power lines which cross the main driveway and parkland of the Felbrigg Hall estate, near Cromer, and replacing them with new underground ones.
Work has already started on the estate and is expected to be finished by the end of May.
Keith Zealand, the National Trust’s senior ranger for the Felbrigg Estate, said: “Felbrigg Estate is known for its wide open spaces and big skies. It has a serene and peaceful quality that both holidaymakers and local residents enjoy, with many making use of the walkways, fields and woods as relaxing places to escape to.
“I have always thought that one of the nicest views is looking across from the drive to the church as you enter the estate. That’s why it has always struck me as a bit of a shame that the beautiful skyline was crossed by overhead power lines.
“Burying the power cables underground will make a real difference to the look and feel of this very special place, which is an important part of the designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty along the Norfolk coast.”
Because the estate is part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the lines are being removed as part of a special scheme funded by regulator Ofgem.
The scheme provides money for electricity distribution companies to replace overhead lines with underground cables in AONBs and national parks and in the five years up to 2015, £5.6m has been ear-marked for projects in the East of England.
The projects are chosen by a regional steering group of environment experts, including the Norfolk Coast Partnership, and chaired by Natural England, with UK Power Networks providing technical support and guidance while carrying out the projects.
Shaun Barrell, UK Power Networks protected areas and major projects officer, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide the expertise to help enhance this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Norfolk.
“The removal of the lines from the land at Felbrigg Hall will make a great difference to the views experienced by visitors. This is one of several such projects that have taken place in Norfolk since 2006.
“Since 2005, thanks to the special allowance from Ofgem, some of the best-loved countryside in the East and South East of England has been transformed by the dismantling of about 66 kilometres of overhead electricity lines.”
Estelle Hook, Norfolk Coast Partnership officer, added: “The removal of these power lines will make an immediate difference to the landscape of one of the finest historic parklands within the Norfolk Coast area of outstanding natural beauty, and it’s a view that every visitor sees as they come down the main driveway to the hall.”
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