Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 30 March 2017


You may have seen Site Access signs dotted around the constituency but no signs of any work and, like me, wondered what is going on. Wonder no more.

National Grid has started work on a £50 million refurbishment of pylons in Devon and part of Cornwall to keep power flowing in the South West and beyond for decades to come. The line of pylons, running between substations in Exeter and Landulph, was built in the 1960s. The signs are part of the preparatory work.

The wires carrying electricity that hang between them, along with other equipment, are approaching the end of their working life and need replacing. Engineers will inspect the condition of over 300 pylons along the 100km route and replace equipment as necessary to hold the wires in place. There are not going to be any new pylons (phew).

The refurbishment follows a similar £30 million project carried out in 2016 on overhead lines in Cornwall. It should all happen seamlessly, but the occasional temporary road closure might be required. Obviously safety is paramount.

I received a briefing from the Project Manager on Friday. He underlined the need to make sure the country's energy infrastructure is able to meet the demands of the future. He explained that National Grid was replacing old components with more efficient fittings, to help them to continue to deliver electricity reliably for many years to come.

Preparation has already begun with survey and exploration work at pylon bases. Engineers have been clearing trees and bushes after agreement by their expert ecology team and local land owners. A need for some temporary gates or stone pathways to access some of the pylons will be required. Actual refurbishment work will start from next week and is scheduled to finish in October. Reinstatement of the land is expected to be completed by end of December 2017.  Most of the work will take place between 7am and 7pm, with some work on weekends to get the job done as quickly as possible.

So this is yet another significant infrastructure project taking place in our midst, along with Sherford and the Hemerdon Mine. There is always some disruption but the benefit to the local economy with direct employment, work for hundreds of self-employed contractors, countless people from upcountry staying in our hotels and guest houses and spending in pubs shops and cafes cannot be under-estimated.

I wish National Grid well in completing this important task.

posted by Gary @ 11:08