FEARS over health and damage to the countryside dominated debate on plans to place pylons from Hinkley Point across the Somerset Levels.

Executive members of Sedgemoor District Council met last Wednesday to submit a response to a national document on electricity networks, published by the Government Department for Energy and Climate Change.

But focus soon shifted to National Grid's proposals to take electricity away from a new Hinkley C nuclear power plant using pylons.

Councillors listened to campaigners, battling to stop pylons from going across the scenic Levels, who argued that a strong message could be sent to the national policy makers through the consultation response.

They stressed that this was the chance to change national policy and scupper National Grids pylon plans.

Paul Hipwell, chairman of No More Pylons action group, said: “As we have seen, National Grid has only given residents the choice of 1950s pylons for transmitting electricity.

“We all know that other options like underground and undersea are being used extensively - we need to be given a choice.

“The cost of visual impact, losses to tourism and damage to the environment must be taken into account to tilt the balance in favour of underground.”

Health fears relating to pylons were also raised by protestors - and backed by councillors - after concerns that National Grid's proposed pylons could pass close to Mark School.

Sedgemoor District Council submitted its response to the Government's report - criticising it for being too light on information.

Paul Sobczyk, Sedgemoor District Council's environment officer, said: “We do not think it is satisfactorily robust. It should have more comprehensive consultation information.

“We previously raised concerns about health impacts and feel it is very light on that.

“And there is little guidance on community benefit.”