Rural power lines 'should be buried'

OVERHEAD electricity lines which ruin the natural beauty of the countryside should be buried, re-routed or screened, nature groups said today.

The Countryside Commission, which advises the Government, said the problem was at its worst where several lines met, making 'wirescapes'.

Its director of policy, Roger Clark, said: 'In view of last week's announcement on price controls, it is timely that electricity companies now address this issue.

'We think each company should have a wirescape improvement programme.'

The commission has called on Offer, the industry's watchdog, to recognise the benefits of beautiful countryside.

Dr Clarke said: 'Many rural electricity lines were installed in the 1940s and 1950s . . . and were put in with little regard for their visual impact.

'Today, many of these lines are due for renewal. Now is the time to bury or screen them.'

The Council for the Protection of Rural England echoed the complaints. A spokeswoman said: Positive action is needed to undo past damage and reveal the beauty of many landscapes that have been festooned in wire for too long.'