New Power Lines Plan Submitted in Shropshire

SP Manweb, part of SP Energy Networks has submitted a proposal to reinforce North Shropshire’s electricity distribution network. The proposal involves a 132,000V electrical overhead line stretching 21 kilometres between Oswestry and Wem as well as 1km of underground cable.

The £18 million scheme aims to provide capacity to support development on land allocated for new jobs and homes in Oswestry, Whitchurch and Wem. It also will attract future business and housing investment across North Shropshire through to and beyond 2036.

Following two years of design work and consultation with the local community, a Development Consent Order (DCO) has been lodged with the Planning Inspectorate they now have three months to prepare an examination for public consumption.

A lack of power in the area has previously been blamed for job losses and the relocation of businesses.

The North Shropshire Reinforcement Project will see a new wood-pole electricity line run from Oswestry substation, located at the A5/A495 roundabout, to Wem substation, located on Ellesmere Road on the western side of Wem.

It is anticipated that the Planning Inspectorate, which makes decisions over major infrastructure schemes, will make a decision on the plans by summer 2020.

If approved, SP Energy Networks would seek to begin construction of the overhead line latterly in 2020 and into 2021, with project completion expected by summer 2022.

The new wooden pole line in a Trident design was considered the most appropriate solution after investigating a number of options for reinforcing the network.

The route map takes it east west across high quality rural landscapes and past a number of village communities, so its impact is highly sensitive. 

It is not just about the installation of the poles, but also creating the construction areas, which will be every 5km along the line, as well as ‘cable pulling’ points. This is where conductors (the wires that carry the electricity) are strung onto the wood poles by a winch or tractor and tensioner with a mobile elevated platform.

Construction access would be via local roads, farm tracks and field gates using 20 tonne lorries. SP Energy Networks have indicated that the installation would take about six months

To meet our growing energy needs, schemes such as Shropshire aim to plug weaknesses in the network renewal of our grid and expansion of overhead power networks. This will mean a greater profusion of structures and infrastructure to support them, as well as related disruption from construction traffic.

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