Swans could be to blame for flurry of village blackouts

PUBLISHED: 10:34 04 March 2013 | UPDATED: 10:34 04 March 2013

A RECENT spate of power cuts in Little Downham is being blamed on low flying swans.

UK Power Networks, which is responsible for the supply of electricity, said that the record levels of rainfall over the winter had forced the birds further afield from their normal feeding grounds at Welney.

As a result, the birds had been flying out to the village at dusk and accidentally colliding with electricity pylons and cables, causing lengthy blackouts.

The village has been plunged into darkness on at least eight occasions in the last few months according to Little Downham Parish Council, which contacted UK Power Networks and demanded an explanation.

At their latest monthly meeting, Mark Methwen told councillors: “We suspect that some of the power cuts may have been caused by the occasional swan accidentally flying into overhead lines.

“Due to the excessive rainfall recently it’s possible that birds have been flying further afield from Welney Washes to feed than they would normally. The birds normally return to Welney at dusk and, for information, I believe have poor forward vision. Hence the occasional contact with an overhead cable.

“I am unable guarantee this to be the case but can confirm that according to our records, six out of the eight power cuts since November occurred between the times of 16:24 & 17:02hrs which in November / December would coincide with the dusk hours.”

Mr Methwen said £50,000 had been set aside and would be spent on improvements to the village’s supply to help get it back on its feet again quicker in the event of future power cuts.

He said UK Power was proposing to lay 100 metres of new cable, and install new remote control switches so they could isolate future problems and get power back to sections of the village quicker.

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