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ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

Special pylon tour wows girl, 4, but others remain less enthusiastic


Lucy and family on tour with National Grid officials Photo: National Grid
National Grid’s high voltage Penwortham substation in Preston, UK, recently played host to a 4-year-old girl who has a passion for pylons

Photo: National Grid

A young girl who has a special interest in electricity pylons – also known as electric towers – recently had her dreams come true when she was invited to visit National Grid’s high voltage Penwortham substation in Preston, UK.

The visit by four-year-old Lucy, from Blackpool, recently went viral on TikTok when her mother Sophie posted a video capturing her daughter’s special interest in electric towers on the social media platform.


Lucy, who is autistic, has been fascinated by pylons for almost a year. Following her daughter’s viral video on social media, Sophie contacted National Grid to request a brochure and some pictures of the electricity transmission towers for Lucy.


It was then that National Grid offered to host the family for the afternoon at the nearby 400 kV Penwortham substation in Preston, where Lucy was able to safely get close to the transmission towers – even giving one a hug – and learn more about their important role transporting electricity across the UK.


Lucy also got to build her very own pylon as part of an educational session with National Grid’s Network Engineering Manager, Wayne Steel, who conducted the site tour for the family.


Mum Sophie said: ‘I am so grateful for the visit as it’s a huge thing to Lucy and will forever be remembered; her special interest in electric towers runs her life. All she wanted was to be able to cuddle one and stand under one, and she was able to, which is fantastic. She loves them even more now – if that was even possible!’


According to Sophie, Lucy talks about electric towers wherever they go, and they have become a huge part of her daily life – with Lucy’s favourite pylon pictures providing her comfort when she’s sad, or even when just getting on with the day’s tasks.


‘Electric towers have become a big thing in our lives, so the trip was amazing. Even just for us as parents – something that used to mean nothing to me is now a huge part of our lives and I love it, it’s unique,’ added Sophie. ‘I am so thankful for all the goodies National Grid gave us, there was so much! Lucy’s favourite thing was the book made for her with all the pictures. She takes it to bed and has it next to her while she sleeps. But she’s also very excited to build the Hornby Pylons – I'm just waiting for the special cement to come in the post!’


Commenting after Lucy’s visit, National Grid’s Wayne Steel, said: ‘Transmission towers are a vital part of our network and have carried the UK’s high voltage overhead power lines for nearly 100 years. It’s important to educate our youngsters about the crucial role they play and encourage the next generation of budding engineers. I can’t wait to see what Lucy does in the future with her love for pylons, and I wish her all the very best!’


Getting connected

The UK government is aiming to decarbonise the power sector by 2035 as part of its net zero by 2050 goal. In order achieve this more renewable projects (such as wind, solar and battery energy storage) will need to connect to the electricity transmission grid. National Grid estimates that, by 2030, five times as many transmission lines — via overhead pylons or more expensive underground cables — will need to be built than in the past three decades combined.  


However, unlike Lucy, not everyone sees the beauty of pylons, and there are expectations that proposed new pylons and other high-voltage grid infrastructure may see local communities and their MPs opposing planning applications through not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) campaigns.  


As a result, the UK government has been considering how local communities might be compensated for energy infrastructure being built close to their homes.  


In its report, National Grid notes the need for industry, government and the regulator Ofgem to ‘collectively better communicate the benefits and trade-offs of the clean energy transition with consumers and communities’.