22 May 1998
Fibre-optic cable pylon deal slated
PRODUCERS with pylons on their land should receive higher payments from electricity companies, according to one farmer who operates on the outskirts of London. The power firms stand to make millions of pounds by carrying fibre-optic communications cables across farmland.
Kevin Harding of Upminster, Essex, claimed that a deal struck between the NFU, Country Landowners Association and Energis – a subsidiary of electricity company National Grid – was made on the basis that the cable, which runs between the tops of the pylons, was for the exclusive use of Energis. And only messages for the National Grid would be carried.
“Now, Energis tell us they will let the cable out to any company and, as a result, their share price has rocketed. Farmers should get a share of this because the original payment of 22.5p/m was negotiated on the basis that the cable was for in-house use,” said Mr Harding. But a spokesman for National Grid said this does not constitute an upgrade of the equipment and the deal remains the same. “Perhaps farmers should buy shares in National Grid,” he said.
For this and other stories, see Farmers Weekly, 22-28 May, 1998