The skyline of a historic Suffolk village has been transformed by the removal of overhead power lines as part of a £600,000 project.
UK Power Networks has completed its work at Orford which has seen more than 5,000 metres of both 33,000-volt and 11,000-volt overhead lines replaced by new underground cabling to continue the safe delivery of power in the area.
The project will boost the reliability of power supplies around 1,000 people living in the area and will also benefit local wildlife.
The scheme is funded by a special allowance from electricity industry regulator Ofgem to improve landscapes in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), and follows successful schemes across Suffolk Coast & Heaths locations such as Shingle Street.
UK Power Networks, which distributes electricity across the East of England, South East and London, focused on Orford after it met criteria set by a panel of environmental and landscape professionals.
Trevor Phillips, project manager for UK Power Networks, says: “With the support of our partners, we have delivered a successful project with clear aesthetic and environmental benefits for Orford in this wonderfully scenic marshes area.
“Beyond that, we have also future-proofed the village’s power supplies by installing the latest remote technology, to ensure any power cuts can begin to be addressed even before engineers arrive.
“Allied to that we have been able to split the network in Orford. Previously any power cut would impact the entire village, now we can better address the precise location of a problem, meaning fewer peoples’ power would be off and for much less time.”
Councillor Andrew Reid, chair of the Coast & Heaths AONB Partnership comments: “We are delighted that after working with the local community and UK Power Networks on this project the undergrounding at Orford is now complete.
“Orford is a delightful and special place and this work provides a long-lasting improvement to the views within this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“The overhead wires and poles which interrupted the views enjoyed in this area are gone, removing visual clutter from such an iconic place on the Suffolk coastline.”
Councillor Melanie Vigo di Gallidoro, Suffolk County Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Protected Landscapes and Archaeology and Member of the Coast & Heaths AONB Joint Advisory Committee & Partnership says: “The residents of Orford are delighted that this project is complete and that this famous landscape, rich in history, is restored to its natural and unspoiled beauty by the removal of the overhead cables, and for the beneficial impact their removal will have on our wildlife.
“Further still, we look forward to a power supply with fewer interruptions and increased reliability for the community and residents.”