Leader: New line in pylons could be worth a look

Green energy from carbon-free sources such as wind, waves, and tides is something that meets with general approval. But the means by which it gets to homes, factories and offices does not.

No-one wants electricity pylons near their homes, and lines of them marching across moor and countryside seem an all-too- visible defeat of the environmental improvements the power they carry is supposed to bring.

But what, instead of being a necessary and ugly evil, pylons were so designed as to be a feature in the landscape? This is the purpose of a competition being run by the Royal Institute of British Architects for the UK government.

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Architects and engineers are being encouraged to come up with new designs to replace the distressingly angular and alien steel lattice-work towers that disfigure many parts of the land.

Some people, such as those who have fought the replacement of the Beauly-Denny power line with fewer, but bigger, pylons as part of its upgrade to carry renewable electricity, may think that the only good pylon is no pylon at all. Minds might be changed, how- ever, if striking designs such as those produced for an Icelandic transmission line were eventually approved.

Improbable though it seems, the day may yet dawn when such imaginatively configured pylons might even be an attraction, adding to, rather than detracting from, the journey between Perth and Inverness.