Britain gets the first pylons in a new style in a century

T pylon - a new design of electric masts, which is built in Somerset.

T pylon – a new design of electric masts, which is built in Somerset.

The first 36 of a new T-shaped design of electricity pylons have been connected, National Grid has announced.

The Pylons, the first major British redesign since 1927, will be rolled out where possible across England and Wales.

Instead of an Eiffel Tower-style lattice A-frame with a series of arms that hold the power cables, they are strung under a cross arm on top of a single rod.

The goal is to reduce the visual impact on the environment.

The new design, submitted by Danish Bystrup, was selected from more than 250 entries in a competition in 2011 organized by the Royal Institute of British Architects and the government.

At 35 m (115 feet), they are about a third shorter than traditional high-voltage masts, with a smaller footprint on the ground.

The first is part of a 57km (35-mile) route that will carry low-carbon electricity between Bridgwater and Portbury in Somerset.

They want to connect the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant to six million homes and businesses, National Grid said.

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The electricity supply will be switched on in October.

As part of the project, 249 old-style pylons will be removed.

Their design, submitted by the American engineering firm Miliken Brothers, was chosen by the leading British architect Sir Reginald Blomfield, the designer of London’s Lambeth Bridge, in a 1927 competition.

Formally known as “transmission towers”, they became known as “pylons” from the Greek word “pyle”, meaning “gateway”.

Egyptology was furious after the discovery of the boy King Tutankhamun’s tomb and mummy in 1922.

And the public thought the new steel towers resembled the impressive obelisks on either side of the doors of ancient Egyptian temples.

Electric tower

Standard lattice pylon design

There are about 22,000 pylons in England and Wales, covering more than 4,300 miles.

They must be high to cross obstacles such as roads, rivers and railway lines and ensure that nothing gets too close to them.

The power cords on the pylons are uninsulated, so there is a very high risk of electric shock.

But birds do not get electric shocks because they do not touch the ground, so the electricity stays in the power line.

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