About the project

The Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will reduce the visual impact of National Grid’s overhead line to the north of the market town of Devizes.

Stakeholders have agreed the best way to achieve this is to remove a section of this overhead line and replace it with an underground electricity connection. It represents a major opportunity to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and environmental heritage of this precious Wiltshire landscape.

The section of overhead line
The section of overhead line is part of the 400kV electricity route connecting Bramley and Melksham 400kV substations. It is an integral part of the National Electricity Transmission System connecting the south west and south east of England.

Why was this section selected?
This section of line which runs to the north of Devizes was identified by an independent landscape study as having some of the greatest impacts on landscape and visual amenity.

This is due largely to its elevated position on the foot of the Scarp where the line is clearly visible from the panoramic views and low-lying villages. The line is also in close proximity to a popular car park and the Devizes Millennium White Horse

Its presence affects the experience of visitors who come to the area to walk and enjoy the scenery as well as those travelling on the Kennet & Avon Canal.

Our work in Devizes so far
We are in the very early stages of ascertaining the feasibility of this project and are currently meeting local groups and parish councils to present our early project plans and answer any questions they have.

In June 2019 the project Stakeholder Reference Group met for the first time. The group, consisting of local technical experts, were introduced to our plans and were offered the opportunity to voice their initial thoughts and let us know of anything we should consider before progressing and during the later stages of the project.

We have also held meetings with members and officers from Wiltshire Council, Devizes Town Council, Bromham Parish Council and Rowde Parish Council. We are due to meet with Bishops Cannings Parish Council later in October.

We are also meeting a range of special interest groups especially those focusing on archaeology, ecology and countryside access.

We plan to host a number of public information events later in 2019 where members of the public will be able to view project plans and ask questions of representatives from the project team.

If you or your group would like further information, please get in touch by emailing visualimpact@nationalgrid.com or calling 0330 134 0051.