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New pylon finalists to be unveiled

Press release: 11/073 7 September 2011 The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP to open ‘A Pylon for the Future’ competition shortlist display at the…

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Press release: 11/073

7 September 2011

  • The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP to open ‘A Pylon for the Future’ competition shortlist display at the V&A as part of London Design Festival 2011
  • Media launch for broadcasters and photographers at the V&A at 10am
  • The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP speech for all media at the V&A at 11am

Scale models of six striking designs for new electricity pylons shortlisted for the Pylon Design Competition will be on display at the V&A from Wednesday, 14 September, as part of the London Design Festival.

The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP will open a display entitled ‘A Pylon for the Future’, meet the finalists and speak about the design challenges we face as we rebuild our energy infrastructure over the next 40 years.

Photographers and broadcasters are invited to attend the launch of this display at the Victoria and Albert Museum at 10am.

All media are invited to speeches by The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP, architect Nicholas Grimshaw, and the finalists themselves, at 11am at the V&A’s Sackler Centre. See map at bottom of page.

To attend these events you must register attendance in advance with Jonathan Farr at DECC on 030 0068 5220.

On 23 May 2011 the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and National Grid called for designs for a new generation of electricity pylon. Two hundred and fifty submitted designs have been whittled down to just six finalists, who have been working with the National Grid to build scale models of their designs for the final judging panel.

As well as exploring the design of the pylon itself, the competition aims to explore the relationship between energy infrastructure and the environment within which it needs to be located. The challenge is to design a pylon that has the potential to deliver for future generations while balancing the needs of local communities and preserving the beauty of the countryside.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP said:

“Britain will see the equivalent of 20 new power stations constructed by 2020, and we need to transport this new, low carbon energy to our televisions and toasters, dishwashers and DVD players. We must make sure that we take into account the visual impact on the landscape and also the view of the public, and this is what the Pylon Design Competition is all about. I think that people will be impressed by the quality of these designs and I hope everyone takes the time to get involved and give their view.”

National Grid’s Executive Director UK, Nick Winser, said:

“Connecting Britain’s new power stations to our homes and businesses will be one of the great infrastructure challenges of the next decade and beyond. We are excited to see how new pylon designs will contribute to managing the visual impact of new transmission lines. We will be looking at public reaction to these new designs too.”

The public will be invited to comment on the designs at the V&A and via the competition website until 5 October 2011, and the comments will be taken into account by the judging panel when it makes its final decision later that month.

The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP will chair the judging panel, which will include:

  • Nicholas Winser
  • Master of St Cross College Oxford and former director of the V&A, Sir Mark Jones
  • architects Sir Nicholas Grimshaw and Bill Taylor
  • engineer Chris Wise
  • journalist Jonathan Glancey
  • Ruth Reed from RIBA

A prize fund of £10,000 will be shared amongst the winning candidates and National Grid will give serious consideration to developing the winning design for use in future projects.

The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP, Nicholas Grimshaw and the finalists will be available for pictures and broadcast interviews at the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington at 10am. On arrival please come to the Secretariat Entrance (Cromwell Road).

Notes for editors

  • There are more than 88,000 pylons in the UK, including 22,000 on National Grid’s main transmission network in England and Wales. These stand some 50 metres high, weigh around 30 tonnes and carry up to 400,000 volts of electricity over thousands of kilometres of some of the most exposed, weather-beaten parts of Britain - but the familiar steel lattice tower has barely changed since the 1920s.
  • You will able to see the final designs at from 11am on Wednesday 14 September. High resolution images for print will be made available.
  • ‘A Pylon for the Future’ is a free display as part of the London Design Festival at the V&A. It will be located on the Level 4 landing outside the entrance to the V&A’s British Galleries from 14 September to 5 October 2011.
  • For further information please visit the V&A and London Design Festival websites.

Map showing location of V&A

Published 7 September 2011