Former Countryfile presenter Chris Baines is to help the National Grid reduce the negative impact ugly electricity pylons make on places of natural beauty.
The author, broadcaster and environmentalist will chair an independent group who will tackle these issues, working with organisations such as Campaign for National Parks, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Campaign to Protect Rural Wales and the National Trust.
Ofgem agreed last year that electricity transmission owners could spend £500 million on these sort of projects over the next 8 years.
John Pettigrew, UK chief operating officer at National Grid, said: “Our electricity network connects people to the energy they use, the energy our society is built on. In announcing the appointment of Chris as independent chair of this important group, we are reinforcing our commitment to work with a wide range of groups to reduce its visual impact on the landscape and environment.”
Chris Baines is a former trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, and helped to allocate the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Baines said: “I’m delighted to be part of the Visual Impact Provision Project, which represents a major opportunity to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and environmental heritage of our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Stakeholder Advisory Group has an important role to play in identifying projects to ensure that the fund is used in the most efficient way to deliver maximum benefit for our most treasured landscapes.”
The Campaign to Protect Rural England welcomed the announcement. Policy director Neil Sinden said it was a “significant step forward in removing electricity pylons and transmission lines from some of our most precious landscapes”.