Local residents and visitors can now get a much nicer view of Wiltshire’s smallest church thanks to a £35,000 scheme by Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD) to remove nearby overhead power lines.
St Martin’s Church in Fifield Bavant, which also lays claim to being the second smallest church in regular use in the UK, sits in the picturesque Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. SEPD engineers have just completed a month-long project to replace a series of overhead electricity lines from the front of the 13th century church with replacement underground cables. Eleven spans of power lines have been taken down and wooden poles.
Project manager Greg Moore from SEPD said: “This is a lovely part of Wiltshire with fantastic views across rolling countryside. The fields leading up to St Martin’s Church were criss-crossed by a number of overhead power lines, and now we’ve taken them down, it looks a lot more in keeping with the historic 13th century building.”
The project was funded by a special allowance, granted to SEPD by industry regulator Ofgem, to invest in projects to underground power lines in AONBs and National Parks in central southern England.
Richard Burden, landscape and planning advisor for Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership, said: “We were asked to nominate sensitive landscapes that we thought would benefit from power lines being taken down and Fifield Bavant was one of the first we identified. The AONB Partnership looks forward to working with SEPD on similar schemes in the future.”
Replacement underground electricity cables were carefully buried in the surrounding fields and once they were powered up, engineers were able to take down the overhead lines.
Other parts of the local electricity network have also recently been upgraded providing improved network reliability. In the unlikely event of a power cut, the electricity supply can also now be more easily routed from another source, ensuring local homes keep their lights on.
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For further information contact Emma Mason or Sara Bartlett in the Southern Electric press office on 0845 0760 530.
Notes to Editors:
Southern Electric Power Distribution operates the high and low voltage electricity network that distributes electricity to around 2.9 million customers across central southern England. It is part of the SSE group.
Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire
Downs AONB. (CCWWD
AONB) CCWWD AONB covers 981km2 of Wiltshire, Dorset,
Hampshire, and Somerset. For more information click onto www.ccwwdaonb.org.uk