Hampshire farmers urged to look out and look up

With a tractor bringing down a power line in the Kings Worthy area last week and putting off the power for over 1,900 customers, farmers in Hampshire are being urged to be extra careful when working near electricity equipment.

Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD) is asking farmers to make sure that everyone who is working on their land, including independent contractors, is aware of the power lines which carry electricity overhead, and to take precautions during this busy period so their equipment does not come into contact with them.

Craig Gilroy, SEPD's Head of Customer Operations, said: "When farming teams are out in the fields with their combine harvesters, tipping trailers and booms, as well as doing other work such as stacking crates or bales, they are all carrying out tasks that could potentially bring them into contact with our power lines.

"What many people don't realise is electricity can jump through the air, so it is crucial that anyone operating agricultural machinery is aware of the optimum height their equipment can operate at and they are aware of the power lines near them while working on and travelling between fields.

"As well as the risk of striking overhead lines, farmers and their teams should also be aware of any underground cables to make sure they do not cut through them by accident."

SEPD recommends that if any part of the vehicle touches an overhead line, people should not get out of the cab. Once outside they no longer have the protective shield of the machine around them. The best advice is to phone SEPD's emergency telephone line from the cab and you will be put through to its control room. The team will then advise people what to do, while making the wires safe for people to get out of the vehicle.

Steve Brine, MP for Winchester and Chandler's Ford, said: "When farmers are working in fields it is sometimes too easy to be caught up in the work. This initiative from SEPD will be very important in protecting the local network as we move forward. It is right to say that we all have responsibilities, and I urge everyone, in particular people working around power lines, to take sensible precautions and follow SEPD's guidelines."

Pictured; SEPD show Steve Brine their operations depot in January 2016


More information ...

If any incidents occur or farmers spot any damage to the network they can call SEPD's 24hr Emergency Services Centre on 0800 072 72 82.