SP Energy Networks has published an update on their proposals for an £18 million reinforcement project to develop a new wooden pole overhead line between Oswestry and Wem – which will support local growth and future development in North Shropshire. Newsletters will be sent to over 2,500 local homes and businesses.
In November 2016, the company published a proposed route, based on feedback from at the first stage of consultation, conversations with residents and landowners, and their own assessments. Based on continuing discussions with landowners and local communities, further route options in the Lower Hordley and Noneley areas are now being considered.
The company has also confirmed the location of the start of the overhead line near Round Wood and that they plan to use underground cables between that location and Oswestry substation. The initial design of Wem substation has also been developed. The proposals now also include undergrounding a section of one of the two existing 33kV overhead lines that run into the substation from a southerly direction, in order to facilitate the work required at the substation. Following discussions with landowners, the company has also identified possible construction access routes for installing the proposed overhead line. Indicative options for the two construction compounds required are being considered, which will be used to help minimise traffic movements in the area.
A wide range of surveys to consider the local environment, wildlife and habitats along the proposed route are underway. These studies have been conducted at ponds, hedges and trees along the route to monitor the local wildlife, including bats, badgers, breeding birds and newts in the area. Where possible, the proposed line route will avoid these environmental features, and this information will be carefully considered by the company in the detailed design for the route and individual wood pole locations.
Mark Sobczak, Head of 132kV Programmes at SP Energy Networks, said: “We have been working hard on the project since our last update, and we’ve looked in further detail at each end of the proposed overhead line. Work continues to progress well and this autumn we’ll hold a statutory consultation in recognition that the proposals have reached a detailed stage. We will provide people living near the proposed route with information on our work including where we’re proposing to place the wooden poles and the areas we need for construction. We will also consult specialist bodies responsible for the environment, heritage, ecology and other important considerations. All of this work will help us to finalise our plans before we submit a formal planning application in 2018.”