Charles Hamer, of Midlands-based property firm Hamer Associates, says that if more pylons and overhead cables were diverted or put underground it would free up land for hundreds of thousands more homes to be built.
Hamer Associates specialises in advising developers on how to get utility infrastructure removed or rerouted away from development land. Charles Hamer said that, while National Grid’s decision to remove pylons and cables from areas of beauty was to be welcomed (see report here), more emphasis should be put on development. Mr Hamer said that re-routing or burying cables would help support the government’s target to build more new homes.
He said: “As a country, we have acres of land that would be ripe for new homes in this country that will remain undeveloped because of pylons and the overhead lines, which are off-putting to house-builders. Some sites go under-developed because of this kind of infrastructure and that’s bad news for everyone.”
Mr Hamer said: “I think most people will agree that removing some of the pylons and overhead lines in the places such as the Peak District and the New Forest is welcome and will make those areas more pleasing on the eye but this is putting beauty before building homes. We have to ask ourselves which is the priority for the country?”
National Grid is responsible for around 20,000 pylons in the UK and he estimates that at least a further 200,000 are controlled by distribution network operators.
“It’s not a National Grid issue per se because 90% of the infrastructure is controlled by distribution network operators around the country so it’s not a case of one party bearing the responsibility.”