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We operate 90,000km of overhead lines predominantly in rural locations. While overhead lines are widely accepted as being part of the countryside, there are a number of National Parks and AONBs across the WPD geographical footprint where the removal of our overhead lines would improve the visual amenity. The main method of improving visual amenity while maintaining supplies is to replace the overhead lines with underground cables.

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Protected Landscapes

We coordinate the undergrounding of overhead lines with established steering groups consisting of representatives from AONBs and National Parks who help us identify and prioritise where work will take place.

As part of the Ofgem-approved voluntary initiative, following stakeholder engagement and feedback, our approved business plan for the regulatory period 2015-2023 includes a total sum of £7.6m for undergrounding of overhead lines in National Parks and AONBs.

The £7.6m is the total for our four licence areas for eight years and is split according to Ofgem’s allowance caps for each electricity network licence area across England and Wales as follows:

  • West Midlands: £2.3m
  • South West: £3.0m
  • East Midlands: £0.9m
  • South Wales: £1.4m

The work carried out by licence area is as follows:

Undergrounding in National Parks and AONB’s (km)

 Target for RIIO-ED1Completed (to date)
West Midlands145.3
East Midlands108.3
South Wales102.5
South West211.4
WPD Total5517.5