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Stakeholder Advisory Group

The Stakeholder Advisory Group is an independent group of stakeholder organisations who will work together to identify those areas that would benefit most from the Visual Impact Provision project. Together with landscape consultants, the group chaired by environmentalist, Chris Baines will identify potential projects - both large and small - that can deliver the greatest visual mitigation of existing transmission lines in AONBs and National Parks.

For the Visual Impact Provision project to succeed, it is vital that stakeholders play a central role in helping to identify those areas and lines which would benefit most from expenditure under the Visual Impact Provision.

This applies both to large major capital programmes (such as undergrounding and re-routeing) to small landscape enhancement schemes under the Landscape Enhancement Initiative (more information to follow).

To achieve this, we established a Stakeholder Advisory Group which comprises representatives from organisations dedicated to enhancing landscape and countryside throughout England and Wales. The members advise the project on key decisions and on the most effective ways to engage with local stakeholders outside the main Advisory Group.

The Group's members are:


Cadw is the Welsh Government’s historic environment service working for an accessible and well-protected historic environment for Wales. They:

  • Conserve Wales’s heritage
  • Help people understand and care about their history
  • Help sustain the distinctive character of Wales

Cadw is a Welsh word meaning ‘to keep’ or ‘to protect’.

Ashley Batten, Senior Archaeological Planning Officer (North)

Ashley works within the Historic Environment Branch at Cadw ensuring designated Ancient Monuments and Historic Landscapes are properly considered within the planning and development context. Ashley has a particular interest in the impacts of infrastructure on the historic environment working regularly to mitigate the impacts of renewables schemes, trunk roads, gas pipelines, water and electricity networks, a nuclear power station and many other types of scheme.

Campaign for National Parks

The Campaign for National Parks is the independent national voice for the 13 National Parks in England and Wales. Their mission is to inspire everyone to enjoy and look after National Parks – the nation’s green treasures. For over 75 years they have been campaigning to ensure that our National Parks are beautiful, inspirational places that are relevant, valued and protected for all.

Fiona Howie, Chief Executive, CNP

Fiona Howie was previously Head of Planning at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). During that time she secured a substantial government grant as part of the Supporting Communities and Neighbourhoods in Planning scheme and oversaw the delivery of the two year programme in partnership with the National Association of Local Councils. She also led various campaigns, including work to influence the draft National Planning Policy Framework. She has also worked for Macmillan Cancer Support. She has a master’s degree from the University of Oxford in Biodiversity, Conservation and Environmental Management. She lives with her family in south west London.

Campaign to Protect Rural England

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) fights for a better future for England’s unique, essential and precious countryside. From giving parish councils expert advice on planning issues to influencing national and European policies, CPRE works to protect and enhance the countryside. CPRE believes a beautiful, thriving countryside is important for everyone, no matter where they live. CPRE don’t own land or represent any special interests. Members are united in their love for England’s landscapes and rural communities, and stand up for the countryside, so it can continue to sustain, enchant and inspire future generations.

Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) is a Charity working throughout Wales to protect and enhance the landscapes and quality of life in rural areas. Since 1928, it has sought to increase awareness of the value of all landscapes and the benefits they provide by encouraging individuals to protect and become their stewards.

CPRW defends those qualities which make Wales’ countryside and communities distinctive and challenges decision makers to ensure change occurs in the right way and in the right place and opposes it where it does not.

Peter Ogden, Director

Peter is a Geography graduate and Chartered Town and Country Planner specialising in landscape and environmental planning, particularly in Protected Landscapes.

Peter was previously Planning Policy Manager for the Snowdonia National Park Authority. He is a Member of the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), a Board member of EUROPARC Atlantic Isles, and Chairman of the Brecon Beacons Trust.

Peter has worked around the world, advising on the sustainable planning and management of Protected Landscapes and World Heritage sites.Peter is a Geography graduate and Chartered Town and Country Planner specialising in landscape and environmental planning, particularly in Protected Landscapes.

"CPRW is delighted to have participated in and support this positive initiative by National Grid. As the uncluttered horizons of some of England and Wales’ most cherished landscapes begin to reappear, the success of this initiative will soon be reflected by what the public don’t see.

"We also trust this initial undergrounding programme becomes the precursor to many more and as importantly prompts other utility providers to show how they too can remove their blemishes from the nation’s finest landscapes.”

Historic England

Historic England is the public body that looks after England's historic environment. They do this through: 

  • Championing historic places 
  • Identifying and protecting heritage 
  • Supporting change 
  • Understanding historic places 
  • Providing expertise at a local level

Shane Gould, Senior Local Government and National Infrastructure Advisor

National Association of AONBs

The National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB) was formed in 1998 as an independent organisation to act on behalf of Areas of Outstanding Beauty in England and Wales.

Howard Sutcliffe, AONB Manager

Howard holds a joint honours degree in Geography and History and is a Professional Member of the Countryside Management Association. He has worked in Protected Landscapes for 25 years.

He is currently Manager of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB Partnership, and as such he represents the NAAONB and the AONB Family on the VIP Project Strategic Advisory Group.

He is a Vice Chair of Corwen Town Council and a life member of CADW and the National Trust.

“People are passionate about AONBs and care deeply about their future so we are delighted to be working with National Grid on their VIP Project. AONB partnerships are trusted convenors who make things happen, translating vision and national policy into local action and we look forward to being involved in the positive changes that will take place over the next seven years.”

National Grid

National Grid is an international electricity and gas company based in the UK and northeastern US. We play a vital role in connecting millions of people safely, reliably and efficiently to the energy they use.

We are at the heart of one of the greatest challenges facing our society – delivering clean energy to support our world long into the future.

We work with all our stakeholders to promote the development and implementation of sustainable, innovative and affordable energy solutions.

George Mayhew, Corporate Affairs Director

George joined National Grid in July 2006 and has responsibility for the Company’s UK & US Brand, Communications, Public Affairs and CSR activity. He is a member of the National Grid Executive Committee, a Trustee of The EMF Biological Research Trust, on the Board of the National Grid Foundation in the US and is the Executive Sponsor to Pride in the UK & US. He was previously on the Board of the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy.

"By working with a range of stakeholders at a national level on the Visual Impact Provision project, we have a major opportunity to mitigate the visual impact of transmission lines in the most beautiful landscapes throughout England and Wales. Through collaboration we aim to make the most of the fund, making decisions to select projects that are not only achievable but bring as wide a benefit as possible."

National Parks England

National Parks England exists to support policy and practice by coordinating the views of the 10 English National Park Authorities (NPAs). It does this by providing a collective voice, raising the profile of work, facilitating discussion, supporting change and working in partnership with other bodies.

Sarah Kelly, Landscape Officer, New Forest National Park Authority

Sarah Kelly is a Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute and has over 20 years’ experience as a fully qualified Landscape Architect. She has a wide range of professional experience having worked in both landscape and architectural practises in London and Hong Kong. She has been the Landscape Officer at New Forest National Park Authority since 2006, joining soon after it was designated. Sarah lives in Hampshire, close to the New Forest National Park and enjoys sailing and horse riding. 

National Parks Wales

Together, the three Welsh National Parks – Snowdonia, Pembrokeshire Coast and Brecon Beacons – protect an impressive 20 per cent of Wales, including precious landscapes, habitats, villages and heritage sites.

Jonathan Cawley, Director of Planning & Cultural Heritage, Snowdonia National Park Authority

Jonathan Cawley has been Director of Planning & Cultural Heritage with Snowdonia National Park Authority for 18 months, having previously worked as a Chartered Town Planner in both public and private sectors. Prior to joining the NP he was a Planning & Development Manager for a large independent renewable energy company and prior to this he was Planning Policy Manager for Denbighshire County Council. Jonathan is also currently Chair of the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Policy & Research Forum. In his current role, his responsibilities include overseeing the NPA’s statutory planning functions (including the Eryri Local Development Plan), the National Park Management Plan, the Sustainable Development Grant, Wardens and Access, as well as the Conservation, Woodland and Agriculture team. Overseeing these functions provides Jonathan with a good grasp on the live operational issues facing many protected landscapes today. He also works closely with the other two National Parks in Wales on planning and related matters, something he has personally placed a great emphasis on since joining Snowdonia.

"It has been a privilege to be part of the VIP project which will make a direct contribution to conserving and enhancing our protected landscapes. This project goes right to the heart of what protected landscapes are about. I look forward to progressing the positive and exciting work that has taken place to date."

National Trust

National Trust is a charity and completely independent of Government. National Trust has over 3.7 million members and 61,000 volunteers. More than 17 million people visit their pay for entry properties, while an estimated 50 million visit their open air properties.

They protect and open to the public over 350 historic houses, gardens and ancient monuments.

Ingrid Samuel, Historic Environment Director

As Historic Environment Director, Ingrid Samuel has strategic responsibility for policy development and practice across the National Trust’s historic buildings and archaeology. Ingrid is also the NT’s strategic lead for Land Use Planning, in which capacity she oversees planning policy and national projects relating to major infrastructure such as HS2, and chairs the Trust’s Planning Board. A former civil servant, Ingrid was Head of Heritage and Architecture at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. She has a doctorate in history from the University of Cambridge and lives in London.

Natural England

Natural England is the government’s adviser on the natural environment, providing practical scientific advice on how to look after England's landscapes and wildlife. Within England, Natural England is responsible for: 

  • terrestrial biodiversity 
  • marine biodiversity in inshore waters 
  • landscape and geodiversity 
  • access and engagement working with land managers and farmers to protect wildlife and landscape
  • National Nature Reserves 
  • providing planning advice and wildlife licenses through the planning system 
  • providing evidence to help make decisions affecting the natural environment

Liz Newton, Director Landscape and Geodiversity

Liz is responsible for leading the work of the Landscape and Geodiversity team whose role includes statutory designations (National Parks, AONBs heritage coasts and geological SSSIs), providing advice and evidence, leading implementation of the European Landscape convention and Natural England’s work on the historic environment. Liz is a member of the Natural England executive leadership group. Liz has extensive experience of the working across a broad range of issues within the environmental sector and has held senior roles with the Countryside Agency and Natural England at a national and regional level.

Natural Resources Wales

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is the principal advisor to Government on the environment and natural resources of Wales with a purpose to ensure that the environment and natural resources of Wales are sustainably maintained, sustainably enhanced and sustainably used.

Keith Davies, Head of Planning, Landscape, Energy and Climate Change Group

Keith Davies has responsibility for providing national leadership to NRW.

He previously worked for the Countryside Council for Wales, Snowdonia National Park and Arfon Borough Council and has spent periods on secondment to Welsh Government including contributing to the Sustaining a Living Wales Green Paper which contributed to the development of the Environment Bill White Paper and the Natural Resource framework in Wales.


Ofgem is the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets. We are a non-ministerial government department and an independent National Regulatory Authority, recognised by EU Directives. Our principal objective when carrying out our functions is to protect the interests of existing and future electricity and gas consumers.

Anna Kulhavy, Senior Manager, Transmission Investment

The Landscape Institute

The Landscape Institute (LI) is the Royal Chartered institute for landscape architects.

As a professional body and educational charity, the organisation works to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and built environment for the public benefit. The LI champions landscape and the landscape profession, through advocacy and support to our members, in order to inspire great places where people want to live, work and visit.

Mary O'Connor, Associate Director

Mary’s expertise is in landscape planning and design, environmental impact assessment and LVIA, green infrastructure and landscape design for new developments, and expert witness to public inquiries. Her experience extends across the energy, infrastructure, industrial, commercial, minerals, highways, and housing sectors, and involves public consultation and working with local communities.

"Our remit covers the quality and conservation of the landscape. We think this is a very exciting project for improving the landscape condition and scenic quality in our most precious places. My hope is that we will make a real difference to these landscapes and for the people who live and work in them or use them for leisure and enjoyment."

The Ramblers

Britain's walking charity working to protect and expand the places people love to walk and promote walking for health and pleasure.

Nicky Philpott, Director of Advocacy and Engagement

Visit England

Visit England is the official tourist board for England.

Sam Oakley, Policy & Affairs Manager

Visit Wales

Visit Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government's tourism team within the Department for Heritage to promote Welsh tourism.

Lawrence Manley, Head of Appraisals and Monitoring

What is the role of the Stakeholder Advisory Group?

The Stakeholder Advisory Group’s role is to identify a list of potential projects - large and small - across AONBs and National Parks in England and Wales that could benefit from the fund and to select those that deliver the greatest visual mitigation judged against a range of criteria. The Stakeholder Advisory Group’s role will be to work with National Grid and ensure: the fund delivers maximum benefit in terms of enhancing the landscape while using the fund in the most economical and efficient way; and ensuring that there are no negative impacts on sensitive environments as the enhancements are made.

The Stakeholder Advisory Group will help to:

  • identify initial priorities for the use of the Visual Impact Provision, based on the guiding principles set out above
  • consider the technical inputs and evidence provided by National Grid
  • consider the input of wider stakeholders who are not directly represented on the Stakeholder Advisory Group (e.g. specific comments on where use of Visual Impact Provision funds might be beneficial, or where there is evidence of public support)
  • identify the specific infrastructure and locations which would most benefit
  • define the projects which should be taken to development phase by National Grid, and
  • re-consider or re-assess priorities and use of the fund, as development of projects progresses.