THE UK's largest electricity transmission and distribution business says it is working on plans for network reinforcements between Scotland and Northeast England.

National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) owns, builds and maintains the high-voltage electricity transmission network (pylons, substations and cables) in England and Wales. Scottish Power Transmission own the transmission network in southern Scotland.

National Grid's Electricity System Operator (ESO) supplies homes and businesses with energy and became a legally separate business within the National Grid PLC family in 2019.

The ESO publishes an annual Network Options Assessment (NOA) which it says provides recommendations for which network reinforcement projects should receive investment and when, but emphasises it is not responsible for the final decision on what to invest in.

The ESO, after consultation with transmission owners, published the Pathway to 2030 including the Holistic Network Design (HND) last year, which proposed how to support large-scale delivery of electricity from offshore wind. 

The Pathway identified a significant amount of new electricity network is required across the UK, including the need to reinforce networks between Scotland and Northeast England.

National Grid's pylon plans have developed UK-wide and there are public campaigns against them in England and Wales, including Pylons East Anglia.

David Burns, who lives near Stocksfield, is involved in Pylons East Anglia.

Mr Burns said National Grid has already published plans for underground pylon routes in Dedham Vale in east England, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The ESO did not suggest onshore network reinforcements in Northumberland in its HND proposals, instead recommending them to be built offshore.

Mr Burns explained he was told by a confidential source of the company's revision of the original plans in the HND for Northumberland.

"Whilst the HND proposals were initially kind to Northumberland, proposing directly to go offshore and build undersea cables from a point just north of Edinburgh down to Yorkshire and Humberside, we have come across information in the course of the East Anglia campaign which indicates that National Grid is now revising these proposals." 

He said if National Grid decide to build pylons in rural Northumberland, 'it would lead to untold damage to the unspoiled landscapes in Northumberland, risk 2,000 years of cultural heritage at Hadrian's Wall and be in close proximity to the most complete Roman fort in the country at Chesters'.

In partnership with Scottish Power Transmission, National Grid says it is reviewing ESO’s recommendations and assessing potential options, including different technology choices, to determine the best solution for reinforcements between Scotland and Northeast England.

The company claims as this assessment work is ongoing, the exact route and the technology options to deliver this have not been confirmed.

Once it is decided, the plans will be published and communities will be consulted as part of the planning process.