Conservation charity Friends of the Lake District is urging people to respond to National Grid's 'North West Coast Connections' public consultation into new electricity cables in Cumbria, which ends this Friday (28 November).

The consultation looks at routes for running new 400kV grid connection cables from Carlisle to the Sellafield site and then south to Heysham or Blackpool. The wires upgrade is needed to secure future electricity supplies from power stations (and windfarms) in west Cumbria and connect them into the national grid supply network.

National Grid's preferred option will route the cables within or next to the Lake District National Park for 44km (27 miles) on 50 metre high pylons – the height of Nelson's Column. This will severely damage the landscape and wildlife of this area, and spoil people's enjoyment of it.

Friends of the Lake District is asking people to get in touch with National Grid to let them know that they would like to see the cables avoiding the Lake District, and urging National Grid take the wires offshore instead. This route would take the cables undersea to the south, to the Fylde coast near Blackpool, avoiding damage to the landscape of the Lake District and disruption to local communities.

National Grid claim costs for the offshore route are too high and that the cables need to go through the Lake District National Park to keep costs down. But National Grid has failed to include the costs of putting the cables underground to reduce the impact on the landscape if they go for their National Park route.

Kate Willshaw, Friends of the Lake District's Planning Officer said: "If the costs of putting the cables underground through the Lake District are included then the cheapest option is to take the cables offshore. Putting the cables on the seabed is both cheaper and will protect the vital landscape of the Lake District. National Grid can both secure our future electricity supplies and avoid damage to the fabulous landscape of the Lake District – but only if people support this offshore option by contacting National Grid before Friday 28 November, to have their say."
To comment on the consultation go to You can also call the National Grid consultation hotline on 0800 8766990 to request an information pack. Responses to the consultation should be sent to National Grid to arrive by November 28, 2014.

Update 1 December 2014:

Read our response to National Grid's North West Coast Connections consultation here. Thanks to everyone who took the time to write to National Grid, and to donate to our campaign.