The Visual Impact Provision (VIP) Snowdonia Project: Why visual impact is very important

July 31, 2020

National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision (VIP) Snowdonia Project, for which RSK provided environmental assessment services, has recently received planning permission. The project, one of four VIP projects, is the third to receive planning permission following announcements about the VIP Dorset Project and the VIP Peak District (East) Project in June 2018 and June 2020 respectively, for which RSK also provided similar services.

The VIP projects make use of a £500 million allocation by Ofgem for electricity transmission owners to mitigate the visual impact of existing electricity infrastructure in nationally protected landscapes in the UK. For National Grid, which is the transmission owner in England and Wales, this means mitigating the effects of existing infrastructure on the visual amenity and landscapes of national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

The VIP Snowdonia Project will remove 10 pylons and the overhead line from the landscape of the Dwyryd Estuary. The line be relocated below ground in a 3.4-km cable tunnel.

Work on the project will begin in 2021 and finish in 2026.

RSK’s environmental assessment role involved acting as National Grid’s Part A supplier for coordinating environmental assessment activities and managing National Grid’s appointed Part B technical suppliers to get the projects consented with the minimum environmental impact.

“It is fantastic to see the VIP Snowdonia Project given the go ahead,” comments RSK Environmental Impact Assessment, Planning and Design Associate Director Sally Rotherham. “RSK has been involved in all three of the now consented VIP projects and takes great pride in the changes they will have on the natural landscape. It is an amazing commitment to invest in removing equipment that has been there for many years and to restore the natural beauty and environmental heritage of an area. We look forward to seeing the results.”

RSK is also already involved in the construction of the VIP Dorset Project by supporting the contractor Morgan Sindall, and looks forward to continuing its strong relationship with National Grid.