To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they are giving to the proposals of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, the Campaign for National Parks, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales and the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty for a "smart" electricity grid which minimises damage to the most beautiful landscapes, and for a long-term programme of investment to bury the estimated 8 per cent of existing transmission lines that cross protected landscapes such as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. [HL1215]
In deciding upon the location and design of required transmission infrastructure a balance has to be struck between a number of concerns including delivering new transmission network to meet our climate change objectives and security of supply needs, protecting the local environment, and the cost to consumers. The planning system enables all stakeholders to have their views considered when decisions are made.
Any assessments on undergrounding existing transmission lines are a matter for Ofgem and the network operators and would be carried out as part of the price control review mechanism through which the transmission network companies are regulated.
It is for the planning system to decide upon the location of required transmission infrastructure and the framework is in place to allow all relevant concerns, including environmental impacts, to be fully considered when making such decisions.