The Stakeholder Advisory Group has been formed as part of the company's Visual Impact Provision project, a major initiative to reduce the visual impact of transmission lines in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).
This project has been developed in response to the £500 million allowance made available by Ofgem in March 2013, which applies to all electricity transmission owners across Great Britain.
At the heart of the project is collaboration with those who work to protect Britain's countryside. In his role as chair of the Stakeholder Advisory Group, Baines will work alongside senior representatives of organisations including the Campaign for National Parks, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Campaign to Protect Rural Wales, and the National Trust.
Together with some of the UK's leading landscape consultants, the group's members will identity potential projects - both large and small - that can deliver the greatest visual mitigation of existing transmission lines.
An award-winning author and broadcaster, Baines is one of the original presenters of Countryfile, and a former trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, where he had shared responsibility for distributing the Heritage Lottery Fund.
He is a former member of Design Review Panel for the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) as well as a member of the Environmental Review Panel for the London 2012 Olympic Village.
John Pettigrew, UK Chief Operating Officer at National Grid comments:
"Our electricity network connects people to the energy they use, the energy our society is built on. In announcing the appointment of Chris as independent chair of this important group, we are reinforcing our commitment to work with a wide range of groups to reduce its visual impact on the landscape and environment.
"Chris's extensive experience of bringing different people together on projects like this will be invaluable in the role. Added to this, he is incredibly knowledgeable on the issues at hand."
Chris Baines, said:
"I'm delighted to be part of the Visual Impact Provision Project, which represents a major opportunity to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and environmental heritage of our National Parks and AONBs. The Stakeholder Advisory Group has an important role to play in identifying projects to ensure that the fund is used in the most efficient way to deliver maximum benefit for our most treasured landscapes."
Neil Sinden, Director of Policy for CPRE added:
"CPRE warmly welcomes this announcement which is a significant step forward in removing electricity pylons and transmission lines from some of our most precious landscapes. We look forward to working with the chair and other members of the stakeholder advisory group and to playing a constructive role in helping to deliver the National Grid's visual impact provision project."
The first meeting of the Stakeholder Advisory Group will take place in April 2014 and follows the conclusion of Ofgem's review of the Visual Impact Provision policy which included a four-week public consultation.
Following independent assessments by leading landscapeconsultants during Spring / Summer 2014, the Stakeholder Advisory Group will start to identify which projects should receive funding under the allowance.
Contact for media information only:
National Grid Media Relations
+44 (0) 1926 655274
+44 (0) 121 616 5920
Out of hours duty press officer:
+44 (0) 1926 653000
More information about the Visual Impact Provision project can be found at:
Notes to Editors:
National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world. We own and manage the grids that connect people to the energy they need, from whatever the source. In Britain and the north-eastern states of the US we run systems that deliver gas and electricity to millions of people, businesses and communities.
In Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country. In the North Eastern US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles.
National Grid in the UK:
▪ We own the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales, operating it across Great Britain
▪ We own and operates the high pressure gas transmission system in Britain
▪ Our gas distribution business delivers gas to 11 million homes and businesses
▪ We also own a number of related businesses including LNG importation, land remediation and metering
▪ National Grid manages the National Gas Emergency Service free phone line on behalf of the industry - 0800 111 999 (all calls are recorded and may be monitored).
▪ Our portfolio of other businesses is mainly concerned with infrastructure provision and related services where we can exploit our core skills and assets to create value. These businesses operate in areas such as Metering, Grain LNG Import, Interconnectors and Property. National Grid Carbon Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of National Grid and it undertakes Carbon Capture Storage related activities on behalf of National Grid.
National Grid in the US:
▪ In the northeast US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles.
▪ National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.