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Ugly Power lines removed in Dunsfold

A Surrey landscape picked as a filming location for Nanny McPhee and War Horse has just undergone further improvements.

Electricity distributor, UK Power Networks, has permanently rerouted 1.4 miles of overhead power lines underground at Painshill Farm, Dunsfold, to improve views in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The £290,000 project was completed last week and builds on a project the company carried out three years ago at neighbouring Tilsey Farm, Hascombe, where a further 1.5 miles of power lines were diverted underground. That work was also completed thanks to a special fund to underground power lines in nationally-important landscapes.

Shaun Barrell, UK Power Networks’ protected areas project officer, said: “It is great to be carrying out further improvements to the picture postcard rural scenery which has caught the eye of major film-makers. Undergrounding these power lines will further improve a special landscape which is already a popular destination for walkers and horse riders who enjoy using the local paths and bridleways.”

Rob Fairbanks, Surrey Hills AONB director, said: “The area around Painshill Farm is an inspirational landscape and the power lines have been very obvious in an otherwise highly attractive setting. Removal of the overhead lines and poles will greatly enhance the landscape and allow people to fully appreciate the outstanding views.”

Sixteen electricity poles will also be removed along the route, eventually closing up the power line corridors between areas of woodland. The farm has rich wildlife habitats for bats and ground nesting birds, with extensive woodland, hedgerows and set aside areas that aren’t cultivated for crops.

Years ago a film company paid for a short section of power lines to be diverted at Tilsey Farm before Nanny McPhee 2 was shot there and special effects were used to hide overhead power lines in War Horse to create an authentic wartime setting. But no computer-generated wizardry was needed to achieve the latest improvements, which will have lasting benefits for the area.

Since 2010, UK Power Networks has invested £12.9million in the South East and East Anglia to underground 90km of power lines, improving the views in AONBs and national parks. Over the next eight years the company plans to invest a further £10million in projects to replace overhead lines with underground cables in AONBs and National Parks in the South East.

Each project is chosen by a regional steering group of environment experts, including the Surrey Hills AONB, and chaired by Natural England. UK Power Networks provides technical support and guidance to the group and carries out the environmental improvements.

If you need more information, contact the UK Power Networks media team on 0845 302 7292.