Victory for campaigners as Upper Coquetdale homes to be connected to mains electricity

Upper Coquetdale in Northumberland will see some homes connected to the mains for the first time ever
Upper Coquetdale in Northumberland will see some homes connected to the mains for the first time ever -Credit:Newcastle Chronicle

Families living in one of the most remote parts of Northumberland are set to be connected to the national grid after decades of campaigning.

The Upper Coquetdale area is home to a number of farming families who rely on diesel generators to power their homes. As well as connecting a number of these homes, the mains connection will also power three telecommunication masts installed in the valley.

The £2.6 million project has been funded by the Home Office with contributions from the Ministry of Defence. Coun Steven Bridgett, who represents the area, has been involved in the campaign for years and declared himself "over the moon" with the news.

He added: "After 15 years of being involved in the project to bring mains electricity to Upper Coquetdale, it now looks like we are on the cusp of not only having it installed in one of the most remote locations in England, but also 4G and gigabit-capable broadband.

"Thanks must be given to the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence and Northern Powergrid for helping to make this project. However, the key people involved in getting this project to where it is today are the residents themselves, both past and present.

"Their hard work and tenacity is what has helped keep this moving forward. But, we must not lose sight of the fact that there are still many properties outside of the Upper Coquet Valley that are still without mains electricity in 2024."

Upper Coquet resident Katherine Singer also welcomed the news. However, she added that she would remain unconvinced until work actually began.

She said: "It will just be so much more reliable and make things a lot cheaper. We have a lot of issues with the generators and its very expensive to maintain.

"This couldn't have come soon enough. I've been campaigning for at least 10 years.

"It is hard to get excited until we see it happening. We won't believe it until then - it's supposed to start in the summer, so it would be nice for it to be in for the winter.

"I want to highlight that there's lots of other people without a connection to the mains. We have just taken the opportunity with the mobile masts - it was a no brainer to push for it, it was the biggest chance we would get.

"There are a lot of other places and individual homes that don't have it and will probably never get it because of the cost.

"From all the residents, a massive thank you to everybody that has been involved. Northern Powergrid have been amazing, they have put a lot of work into the design to get it past the National Park - and thanks to the MOD for backing it."

Katherine also explained that the mains connection would allow her farm to diversify - something that is vital for farms in the face of the loss of EU subsidies following Brexit.

She added: "You can't diversify by going into holiday lets or caravan sites without mains electricity because people want that convenience. Without mains, we would never be able to do that.

"We're hoping to look at other opportunities to help or farm business."