Low Voltage Undergrounding

Group of people assessing overhead wires

The Dedham Vale National Landscape and Stour Valley Project, together with the other national landscapes (National Landscpaes and National Parks) in Eastern England, work with UK Power Networks and Natural England to remove unsightly overhead electricity lines.  

In 2005 Ofgem, the electricity regulator, began granting electricity network operators a special allowance to replace overhead cables with underground cables where possible, to enhance the appearance of these outstanding landscapes. 

Proposals to underground overhead lines can originate from parish councils, community groups or private individuals, however all proposals must be assessed by the National Landscape team. Priority is given where electricity lines impact on landscape character, landscape features, visual amenity and where undergrounding could benefit the setting of historic features and biodiversity.  

The technical feasibility of a priority undergrounding proposal is assessed by UK Power Networks and, if viable, the National Landscape presents the scheme to a regional steering group chaired by Natural England to decide if it can proceed to the next stage. If approved the National Landscape then works with all affected landowners to get in-principle support, as well as gathering views from wider stakeholders such as the local authority, Historic England, Natural England and the Environment Agency.

Dedham Vale National Landscape, working with UK Power Networks have already completed five projects totally £1.88 million in:

  • East Bergholt and Dedham
  • Stratford St Mary
  • Langham
  • Boxted
  • Stoke by Nayland

One more project, between Polstead and Stoke-by-Nayland, is underway and due to complete by 2024.

AONB team member assessing overhead wires

Assessing low voltage overhead wires in the Dedham Vale

Future Projects

We’re always keen to hear about any other overhead power lines which you feel could be considered for any future funding that becomes available.

The fund applies to the overhead infrastructure operated by UK Power Networks, which includes low voltage supplies to 11kV and 33kV wires. The fund does not apply to the large pylons you may see which connect to Sizewell – these are part of the National Grid and carry much higher voltage power. Schemes must be within the National Landscape and in open country, as work within built up areas is rarely eligible.  

Please see UK Power Networks website for more information, an interactive map and an opportunity for people to nominate an area for lines to be removed. 

For more information contact Claire Cadman, National Landscape Projects Officer by email.