Bid to bring mains electricity to Upper Coquetdale moves a step closer

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Campaigners are celebrating after the battle to bring mains electricity to one of the most remote areas of Northumberland came a step closer.

The Northumberland National Park Authority has decided to make no objections to Northern Powergrid’s proposals to bring power to Upper Coquetdale for the first time.

Residents currently use diesel generators to power their homes, and the move has been described as a gamechanger for residents.

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As well as bringing electricity to 15 of the 50 or so homes in the valley that have no mains power, the scheme will also provide electricity to mobile phone masts, bringing signal to the valley for the first time and providing a vital line of communication for residents and visitors.


The authority decided not to make an objection despite concerns raised by the national park’s head of conservation, Robert Mayhew, about the visual impact the electricity poles would have on the Coquet Valley.

But at a meeting of the National Park Authority, Coun Steven Bridgett, who represents the Rothbury ward on Northumberland County Council, explained: “More than 350 of the most remote properties are without mains electricity, many of them in the national park. We can begin to correct this mistake and deliver two utilities that we take for granted – mobile phone signal and mains electricity.

“This is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Northumberland, but it is also one of the most remote, and at times harshest and on some occasions dangerous. Just because someone lives in a rural area, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the same utilities as the rest of us.

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“If we do not do this, we could see a modern-day equivalent of the highland clearances. This is a one-off opportunity to support the residents of the Upper Coquet Valley.”

Committee member Sue Bolam, who also sits on Harbottle Parish Council, commented: “This is perhaps the one and only chance that the Upper Coquet Valley will have to get the electricity in. I will support the recommendation for it to go ahead.”

The authority agreed almost unanimously not to object to the plans, with one member abstaining. The plans will now need to be decided by the Secretary of State for Energy, Grant Shapps, before work can get under way.