The project is part of a wider scheme to remove unsightly pylons from the most beautiful scenery across England and Wales. National Grid’s visual impact provision (VIP) programme has £500m to spend by 2021 to reduce the visual impact of electricity transmission infrastructure and this project is the first scheme to be delivered as part of that programme.
Construction is expected to begin in Dorset in early 2019. It will involve the design, construction, testing and commissioning of 8km of 400kV double circuit underground cable system and associated works in the Dorset area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).
The project will also involve the removal of the existing overhead line and 22 pylons that form part of the existing landscape – the pastoral backdrop to the works of Thomas Hardy.
The project has been awarded as part of the four year engineer, procure and construct (EPC) framework to which Morgan Sindall Infrastructure was appointed to in 2016. It increases the value of works which the company has been awarded through the EPC framework this year to more than £100m.
Morgan Sindall Infrastructure managing director Simon Smith said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the first of National Grid’s VIP projects. This award further strengthens our high voltage underground electricity cabling capability which has grown significantly over the past few years. We look forward to further enhancing our long term relationship with National Grid and delivering this complex and important scheme.”
Michelle Clark, National Grid senior manager VIP projects, said: “This contract marks a major step forward in a unique opportunity to restore views from the Hardy Monument across Dorset AONB. The project has been driven by local and national organisations dedicated to conserving the landscape and countryside throughout England and Wales. We welcome Morgan Sindall Infrastructure on board and are looking forward to working with them as our delivery partner to turn the plans into a reality.”