Pylons which intrude on the eye in British beauty spots have long been hated by some environmental groups.
At the moment 7% of the National Grid’s network, stretching 571.2 km, is carried by overhead lines through national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).
Putting cables underground is more expensive than overhead. The grid operator has a pot of cash worth £500 million from Ofgem to reduce the visual impact of electricity infrastructure in nationally protected landscapes across England and Wales.
Yesterday it appointed ex-Countryfile presenter and environmentalist Chris Baines as chair of an independent group to pick the projects worthy of cash.
This could include screening power substations or overhead lines from key public viewpoints, using different pylon designs such as the new T Pylon, re-routeing or rationalising existing lines or replacing overhead lines with underground cables.
Chris Baines described the Visual Impact Provision project is a “major opportunity” to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and environmental heritage of “treasured landscapes” in the “most efficient way”.