The National Farmers Union (NFU) is calling on the government to consult with growers fully during the rollout of new electricity infrastructure, as well as urging the government to move as much of the network off-shore as possible.
The new infrastructure is part of an ambitious proposal to connect offshore wind projects and solar farms, requiring either upgrades to the existing infrastructure or a new national transmission network. This plan could result in miles of pylons and overhead cables being installed across thousands of acres.
NFU vice president David Exwood said: “British farm businesses have a big part to play in helping to deliver renewable electricity, something which is a key pillar of our net zero ambition.
“However, as we know all too well, national infrastructure projects can cause huge disruption to day-to-day farming operations and last for many years. For example, pylons and overhead cables can be very dangerous in the vicinity of working agricultural machinery due to concerns over height.
“The NFU believes government should have a properly coordinated offshore network; this is where the energy is created, and only when needed would the electricity come on to land with overhead lines or underground cables. This would minimise any damage to the countryside and be less impactful on our ability to produce food.
“If infrastructure is to be delivered quickly onshore, it’s vital that Transmission Owners, especially the National Grid, fully consult with those farmers affected and work closely with them to determine locations for pylons and the undergrounding of cables.
“Importantly, we also need to know whether farmers will be fairly compensated and, as the recent Winser Report¹ suggests, receive lump sum payments like individual households for hosting new infrastructure on their land.”
You can read the report on accelerating electricity transmission here.