Representations Recieved

Chris Baines, Chairman Stakeholder Advisory Group, Visual Impact Provision Project

Details of the representation

400 word statement from the Chairman

Visual Impact Provision project

Independent Stakeholder Advisory Group


I am delighted that PDNPA approved the main application for the Peak District VIP project at its May committee. I support this application for the associated carpark improvements.    

I grew up in the West Riding, so maybe I am biased, but I think that the valley around Dunford Bridge is beautiful - a classic “Dark-Peak” combination of historic stone-walled farmland and open heather moorland with a fast-flowing river at its heart.  For most of the last 200 years its natural beauty has been blighted – first by the railway, and for the past half-century by the pylons and powerlines.  This proposal will be transformational. It will bring huge long-term environmental, recreational and economic benefits and will provide an extremely attractive and accessible eastern gateway to the Peak Park for the people of Barnsley, South Yorkshire and increasing numbers of national and international visitors. This is a unique opportunity which must not be missed.

I have been personally involved as independent chairman of the Stakeholder Advisory Group for National Grid’s VIP (Visual Impact Provision) programme. I am also a national vice President of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts.  Having visited the project site on more than one occasion I am confident that the ecological integrity of the valley and its nature reserve on the historic railway yard and line-side can be sustained following the cable undergrounding.

The Dunford Bridge scheme is one of only four across the country, selected by the independent advisory group following rigorous assessment of more than 100 alternatives.  That is a measure of the valley’s special qualities and the benefits of pylon removal. After several years of intense consultation there are clear plans to minimise short-term disturbance, manage public access to the TPT and cycleway throughout and invest in habitat restoration and the full reinstatement of the Trail. 

Improvements to the carpark and greater interpretation of the industrial and natural history of the valley will enhance the sense of place and provide scope to learn about the benefits of the scheme. With appropriate landscape treatment the carpark itself can further benefit nature conservation in the valley.

This will be the first project of its kind to be delivered in a National Park anywhere in the world. It will set new environmental standards for the electricity transmission industry globally, and it should be enthusiastically supported by both PDNPA and Barnsley Council.


Chris Baines

Chairman, Stakeholder Advisory Group

Visual Impact Provision project


10 June 2020