One of the most famous landscapes immortalised by artist John Constable has been improved thanks to a £180,000 project to remove overhead power lines.
UK Power Networks, which owns and operates the electricity network, which delivers power to eight million properties across the East, South East and London, has replaced about 1.5kilometres of overhead power lines with underground cables at Flatford Mill on the Essex/Suffolk border – the last remaining electricity cables and poles at the historic site.
The final cables and poles were removed at the end of last month meaning there are no more electricity poles and cables at the site, which is within the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Project manager Lee Bodfield said: “This project has seen the last of our overhead electricity lines removed from this beautiful site.
“Not only have the views been improved but the electricity supplies to residents in the area have been made more reliable as a result of this work.
“Overhead power lines can sometimes be affected by elements beyond the company’s control such as the weather or tree branches touching the lines. As part of the project, we have installed two new substations which are hidden from view and these will also help boost electricity supplies in the area.”
Each year thousands of visitors flock to the site, home to the National Trust-owned property Bridge Cottage and the location for some of Constable’s most famous paintings.
Nigel Chapman, chairman of the Dedham Vale AONB Joint Advisory Committee, said: “We are delighted to be working with UK Power Networks to improve the special landscape of the Dedham Vale AONB.
“The project, to replace overhead lines with underground cable here at Flatford, has resulted in a dramatic and instant enhancement to one of the country’s most recognisable locations. This much treasured landscape is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike and the improvements will have a far reaching effect on the visitor experience.”
Verity Hales, property operations manager for the National Trust at Flatford, said: “We are thrilled that the work undertaken by UK Power Networks in Flatford has been completed.
“The project is a leading example of what can be achieved by working together to the enhancement of the environment in general and specifically for us to look after the beautiful landscape that was so loved by Constable, with many views around Flatford inspiring some of his most well-known paintings. With this improvement we can continue to captivate visitors for future generations to love this special place.”