Northern Powergrid



Fountains AbbeyNorthern Powergrid, the electricity network operator for the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, has announced a £1.25 million investment to enhance the stunning landscape in and around Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal World Heritage Site.

Electricity network operators from all over the UK receive funding from the energy regulator Ofgem to replace overhead lines with underground cables in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in their operating areas, with a view to enhancing the appearance of these protected landscapes. 

Using this funding, Northern Powergrid is working in partnership with Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the National Trust, which operates the Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal estate, to replace 8km of overhead power lines with almost 10km underground cable as well as building five new ground mounted substations, which will supply the local community . 

Sarah Kettlewell, Nidderdale AONB Manager, said: “We chose Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal as it’s one of the landmark attractions for visitors far and wide to Nidderdale AONB. It’s appeal as a beauty spot and World Heritage Site is vital to safeguard. The site represents all that is special about our AONB, with its stunning scenery, heritage and diverse wildlife.”

Taking place between March and September 2020, the work is being delivered on Northern Powergrid’s behalf by Freedom, part of NG Bailey Group, and will significantly improve the appearance of this major tourist destination, particularly in Studley Royal Deer Park. Currently poles and wires detract from the sweeping views across this special landscape, especially towards St. Mary’s Church and the magnificent Studley Lake, which stands at the entrance to the famous eighteenth century water garden. The undergrounding of the electricity infrastructure will enhance these views just as the Aislabies, the original designers of the garden, intended. 

Sarah France, World Heritage Site Coordinator at Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal said: “The undergrounding work by Northern Powergrid will significantly enhance the experience of the 600,000 people who travel to this special place every year, from the UK and across the globe. Every day we carry out vital conservation work that takes us closer to our goal of restoring the garden to its eighteenth-century heyday and this fantastic project helps us to fulfil that ambition.”

As part of the investment, Northern Powergrid will also be installing smart technology which means that, if there is a power cut in the future, supplies will be restored far quicker by remote control switches, benefitting not just Fountains Abbey, but also residents, farms and businesses in the wider area. 

Mike Hammond, Northern Powergrid’s general manager for the North Yorkshire region said: “Through our partnership with Nidderdale AONB and the National Trust we are playing our part in enhancing this spectacular setting. The investment will result in views that are unimpeded by overhead power lines from vantage points right across the estate as well as providing a much more modern and reliable power supply, benefitting local people and visitors from all over the world both now and in the future.

“We’re working with the National Trust and other key partners to minimise disruption and avoid peak traffic and busy dates in the tourist calendar wherever possible and thank people for their patience while we carry out this important investment.” 

Anyone wanting to find out more about this investment work can visit, contact Northern Powergrid’s customer care team by calling 0800 011 3332 or email The network operator is also available 24/7 on Facebook and Twitter.