NuGEN’s Moorside project will develop a new generation nuclear power station on land in West Cumbria, North West England. It will be capable of powering 6 million homes and supplying 7.5 per cent of the UK's electricity needs. NuGEN expects to give final approval in 2018 with construction starting in 2020 and all three reactors on stream by 2026.

It promises a major boost to the local economy and employment opportunities but its positioning on Cumbria’s west coast means that connecting its output to the distribution system has introduced the spectre of 50 metre tall pylons cutting a swathe through 38 kilometres of the Lake District National Park and its setting.

These giant pylons are the grid connection solution proposed by National Grid, the organisation responsible for connecting the power station to the electricity grid as part of their North West Coast Connections (NWCC) project plan.

The Moorside and NWCC projects have each been designated as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP’s) in their own right due to their size. This means that each will be examined separately by planning inspectors.

This designation means each project must consider the potential for the cumulative effects that arise from the interactions between their different components, and should work together to ensure that areas such as the Lake District and its setting are protected.

Our ongoing campaign, ‘Say No to Pylons in the Lake District’ and events such as our ‘Black Combe Walk’ have been raising national awareness about the damaging impact that pylons would have on the landscape. National Grid has subsequently made limited concessions, offering to underground just 3-11km of the 38km of lines running through the park and its setting.

More recently it announced the postponement of a public consultation event planned for September stating that it needed more time to discuss its proposals with people and organisations in Cumbria.

We see this as a hopeful sign that National Grid may be listening to the groundswell of local and national opinion and we will be urging NuGEN, the developer of the Moorside project to do the same.

We feel that it is incumbent on NuGEN to contribute to the cost of burying these electricity cables and to help National Grid to put connections underground for the entire 38km route from Drigg to Askham in Furness, including a tunnel underneath the Duddon Estuary.

Kate Willshaw, Policy Officer,

“This isn’t a pro- or anti-nuclear debate as far as we’re concerned, and we fully appreciate that we have to supply our country’s energy needs. Our point is that if it wasn’t for the Moorside project, there would be no need for these new 400kV lines around the west of Cumbria and the landscape damage caused.

“We want NuGEN and National Grid to work together to develop measures addressing the cumulative impact of the Moorside and NWCC developments on our world renowned landscapes”.

Friends of the Lake District will be working to persuade National Grid and NuGEN that this is an opportunity to publicly embrace the significance of the Lake District National Park by working in partnership and ensuring that power connection are put underground.