Cable plough speeds undergrounding in chalk downs – film

UK Power Networks has used a new cable plough at National Trust site Dunstable Downs to help replace overhead lines with underground cables.
The remote-controlled cable plough means trenches do not have to be dug. It can install up to 1,000 metres of electricity cabling a day – work which would take at least a fortnight using traditional open-cut techniques in the tough chalk ground conditions.
Ivan Churchman, project manager at UK Power Networks, said it was the first time the company has used the new machinery: “We chose to use this to minimise any disruption both to the National Trust visitors and the area’s natural habitat and it has proved to be a fantastic option for us.
“As well as being a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly method, it’s also safer as it removes the risk for open excavations in a public area, and workers entering the trench. It also saves money by reducing the time needed on site, which is what we and landowners both want.”
Ben James, operations manager at ATP which supplied the cable plough, said: “The cable plough’s low impact on the environment, combined with the increased productivity, makes it an effective choice for all parties and we were very happy to team up with UK Power Networks for the first time on this protected piece of the countryside.”
See film of the plough in action here.