Electricity pylons in the UK are set to get a revamp for the first time in almost 100 years after the first 36 of a new design have been wired. Old-style pylons were first designed in 1927 in the recognisable A-frame style.
Now, a new Danish design will be rolled out across England and Wales where possible thanks to a contest held by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the National Grid back in 2011.
There are currently more than 88,000 pylons in the UK, including 22,000 on the National Grid’s main transmission network in England and Wales. The result of the contest was 250 entries leading to six finalists, which were featured at the London Design Festival.
The winner, from Danish company Bystrup’s, is in a T-Pylon design, intended to have a lesser impact on the environment than the old-style ‘Eiffel Tower’ pylons. They have a single pole and T-shaped cross arms, which feature suspension diamond insulators – like ‘earrings’ – which hold the wires, or conductors.
Wires have now been installed on 36 of the Hinkley Connection Project’s new T-pylons in a process known as ‘stringing’. The span of cables between each T-pylon is up to 360m and the conductors are installed in sections of up to 12 T-pylons at a time, with each section taking around two weeks to ‘string’.
There will be a total of 116 T-pylons along the route. Construction work has begun on the remaining 68 T-pylons on the northern section of the route between Sandford and Portbury. Those will be completed, including stringing, by 2023.
The Hinkley Connection stretches 57 km from Hinkley Point C to Seabank power station. It is made up of sections of traditional lattice pylons at Shurton and Avonmouth and 116 new T-pylons, with a section of underground cable between Loxton and Sandford, running under the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.