New cables are needed to connect a new power station at Sellafield to the grid. These would usually be supported on pylons erected across the countryside. However, this project would mean they would have to traverse the Lake District National Park along its south-west coast. The alternative, more expensive way of achieving this would be to bury the cables in the ground at an increased cost of around 450 million pounds. National grid, the company responsible for the project naturally prefers the cheaper solution but no decision has yet been taken and a consultation will be held prior to this. A commercial company cannot be expected to wait an inordinate amount of time for a return on its investment and would push for the cheaper solution. However, if a short-term levy were imposed on electricity bills to cover the extra cost we could have our cake and eat it too. A seventeen-pound hike spread over a few years would pay for it and wouldn’t jeopardise other projects. The proviso of course is that bills would return to normal when the work is completed.


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