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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 October 2006, 07:09 GMT 08:09 UK
Power lines hidden at beauty spot
Leighton Moss
Leighton Moss is home to rare species of birds
Power cables are being relaid underground at a Lancashire beauty spot to stop the views being spoiled.

Leighton Moss nature reserve, near Carnforth, is the first place in the north-west England to undergo the work by United Utilities.

Regulator Ofgem has agreed 5m funding in the region for the "makeovers" in picturesque spots.

It is the first time United Utilities has been given funding to relay power lines for purely aesthetic reasons.

Leighton Moss is owned by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Its wetlands are home to rare species of birds, including the bittern and bearded tit.

Leighton Moss
We have to dig carefully and ensure we leave things just as we found them
Eddie Hamilton
United Utilities

The scheme involves removing 11 poles and almost a mile of overhead lines, which supply 11,000 volts of power to residents and businesses.

Eddie Hamilton, United Utilities project manager, said: "This is just the first phase of a pioneering project that will make a subtle yet permanent difference to areas of beautiful landscape in the North West.

"It will be very challenging - by the very nature of what we are doing these sites are all environmentally sensitive, so we have to dig carefully and ensure that we leave things just as we found them."

As well as improving the appearance of the site, the work at Leighton Moss will help stop birds being killed on power lines.

Robin Horner, RSPB reserves area manager, said: "The area can only be improved by the disappearance of the power lines and I'm sure that our visitors will notice the difference."

The complete programme of work includes areas in the Lake District National Park and Forest of Bowland, and will be completed by 2010.


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