Western Power Distribution

walkhamptonpoles-1-beforeAt nearly 5km and removing up to 36 poles, the Walkhampton scheme is the largest to be undertaken in the South West region by Western Power Distribution. The old overhead line was readily visible from the B3212 Princetown to Yelverton Road, strung across Walkhampton Common from Devil’s Elbow to just above Horseyeatt at Peek Hill. The works to provide the new underground supply were mainly undertaken on the highway to minimise the impact on the sensitive moorland landscape, its archaeology, wildlife and livestock.

Image: Walkhampton Common before the electricity poles were removed.

Christian Hjelm, Consents and Wayleaves Manager for Western Power Distribution adds:

“This scheme is one of a number of iconic sites WPD is supporting under the current Ofgem Scheme. Our comprehensive customer consultation shows that the bodies in our area of operation in South West England and South Wales support the targeting of iconic sites – but also that these customers do not want to pay too much extra for this, so there has to be a careful balance.

Initial discussions led to the creation of steering groups consisting of representatives from various National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) who have suggested sites for consideration.

Working with the group has been helpful – enabling us to spend time working up plans and costings from the limited funds available for high priority iconic schemes collectively agreed by representatives – rather than us having to consider lots of individually submitted requests.”

walkhamptonpoles-groupImage: DPA members at one of the last poles.

Jo Rumble, Communities Officer for the Dartmoor National Park Authority said:

“This is such good news for Dartmoor and for all those who want to get away from it all and enjoy a sense of wilderness and timelessness in a nationally recognised iconic landscape.
The Walkhampton Common scheme was identified by the Dartmoor National Park Authority in the early 1980’s as a clear priority for Dartmoor. The removal of this length of line that stretched across archaeologically rich, sweeping open moorland has been an aspiration for some considerable time and our thanks must go to WPD for not only enabling it to be realised but also to undertaking the works in such a sensitive way”.

Image: The last of the electricity poles are down.

Philip Hutt, Director of the Dartmoor Preservation Association commented:

“For many years, the DPA has supported the undergrounding of these visually intrusive power lines. Their removal will be welcomed by all those who enjoy the natural beauty of this wonderful moorland landscape. Western Power Distribution is to be congratulated on bringing this project to fruition in a sensitive manner”

walkhamptonpoles-2-afterImage: Walkhampton Common after the electricity poles were removed.