Evaluating measures to minimise visual impact on the environment for National Grid
National Grid required research to provide evidence of bill-payers’ support for projects aimed to minimise the visual impact of electricity infrastructure on Areas of Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks. The research supported National Grid’s submission to Ofgem for approval of funding for this work.
The research evaluated five separate projects; four involving the undergrounding of electricity cables in AONBs and National Parks and a separate project to use a new design of pylon (the T-pylon) as part of a new connection to the Hinkley Point power station in Somerset. The research included qualitative and quantitative research – discussion groups across England, Scotland and Wales and depth interviews with vulnerable bill-payers. There was also an online survey of over 2,000 bill-payers and in-home interviews with vulnerable and offline bill-payers. The qualitative phase involved a phased approach to allow for revision of the stimulus materials based on participant feedback.
Separate reports were provided for each of the T-pylon and undergrounding projects and were used to support National Grid’s business case to Ofgem. The research discovered that the majority of consumers supported all five projects, and see them as enhancing the country’s most beautiful landscapes, at an affordable cost.