The consultation on proposed routes for new National Grid infrastructure in Cumbria took place in late 2014. We were presented with one route north and three potential routes south. Two of the three southern routes propose taking the electricity cables through Lake District National Park, the other takes the cable offshore into the Irish Sea and then undersea to landfall at Blackpool, avoiding landscape designations.

National Grid’s preferred option is the Onshore South with Tunnel route which if installed as overhead lines would lead to 44km of cables and 50m tall pylons within or adjacent to the Lake District.

National Grid uses cost, technology and best value as a reason to prefer the Onshore South with Tunnel option over Offshore South. Friends of the Lake District has real concerns that the costs for taking the cables through the Lake District have been vastly underestimated, as no expenditure for mitigation of landscape damage by undergrounding the cables has been built into the cost totals. If undergrounding as a mitigation is included in the costs, then the Offshore South route becomes the cheapest route.

Friends of the Lake District submitted a comprehensive response to the consultation (you can read it here), stating that we think that the Offshore South option should be taken forward as it will prevent damage to the Lake District’s landscapes and biodiversity, and would work out cheaper than undergrounding through the National Park. It would also cause less disruption to communities, businesses and visitors in the west of the Lake District than onshore cabling.

We also asked our members and supporters to add their voices to ours and let National Grid know that they were concerned about pylons in the Lake District. We’re really grateful to all our members and supporters who joined our campaign and who took the time to write to National Grid. We’re also very grateful for the donations we have received towards our campaign costs.

The results of the consultation by National Grid confirmed on Wednesday 17th June that they would not be proceeding with the offshore route but would be pursuing the 'Onshore South with Tunnel' route. 

FLD is obviously disappointed by the choice of onshore south with tunnel over the offshore route, especially as the majority of consultation responses supported the offshore route. We will continue to work with National Grid to work to get the best mitigation possible for the landscape of the Lake District.