Homeowners near new pylons set to be offered home insulation, heat pumps and other energy-efficient measures

The pylons are needed to link renewable energy projects to the grid
The pylons are needed to link renewable energy projects to the grid, but protestors claim alternatives should be explored (Image credit: Getty Images)

The National Grid could offer free energy-efficiency upgrades to homeowners close to proposed new pylons.

The pylons are vital for the UK’s net-zero ambitions but will likely be vehemently opposed by homeowners with properties in their shadow.

These properties may be offered free home insulation, ground and air source heat pumps, and other energy-efficiency installations to win over householders.

Homes that ‘host the infrastructure’ should have a reduced ‘cost of energy’

The pylons are needed to link renewable energy projects such as wind farms to the existing power network, but are expected to impact tens of thousands of properties.

Ben Wilson, National Grid’s chief strategy officer, told the Telegraph the company wants people living alongside pylons and cabling to benefit from the infrastructure with measures like enhanced insulation.

He said: “I do think if you’re hosting the infrastructure, you should get a benefit in terms of your cost of energy, maybe help with energy insulation or helping to electrify your home in terms of heat.” 

Mr Wilson suggested National Grid could also set up training academies to boost employment in the affected areas.

And to prevent electricity shortage, National Grid said the amount of generating capacity connected to the grid would need to treble by 2030.

Proposals put forward after protests to pylons increase

The number of homes and properties affected by cables and pylons will increase sharply over the next decade as a result. Protests are expected to rise sharply too, Mr Wilson conceded.

He said the benefits of the new infrastructure should also be more targeted on the actual households affected.

Mr Wilson, speaking at the Labour party conference in Liverpool, admits local objection to the plans is likely to be severe.

A sign on a grass roadside verge reading 'No More Pylons - Bury Not Blight' protesting against pylons

Campaigners have argued against the increase in pylons in their area instead calling for underground networks instead (Image credit: Getty Images)

This is why the energy-efficiency upgrades, which could include smart heating tech and solar panels, are being targeted directly to the impacted households.

Wilson said: “We can do a lot to mitigate the impact but in the end you do have to have some new infrastructure.” 

Last week around 200 people gathered to protest the Norwich to Tilbury project to build more than 100 miles of 50-metre high pylons across East Anglia.

Campaigners argue that offshore options would be cheaper and simpler, but claim that the National Grid has not properly considered them.

Who will qualify for these free upgrades?

As the proposal to help homes with energy-efficient technology is just a suggestion, it is not yet known which properties would be affected.

However, considering the new infrastructure would require five times more overhead lines as have been built in the last 30 years, it is likely that a huge amount of homes will be affected.

Last month Octopus Energy launched a new smart heating system that aims to "pave the way for heat pumps for everyone" in Britain.

The energy supplier's "Cosy Octopus" offer includes several components, such as an air source heat pump, a home controls system and room sensors, as well a customised smart tariff. 

Sam Webb

Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world.  As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.