Swans 'could have caused' power cuts in Cambridgeshire village

Bewick's swan
Image caption It is thought some of the power cuts were caused by swans hitting overhead cables

An electricity company has said swans could be to blame for a number of power cuts in a Cambridgeshire village.

Residents in Little Downham complained to UK Power Networks after losing electricity eight times in two months.

A company spokesman said: "We suspect some of the cuts may have been caused by the occasional swan accidentally flying into overhead lines."

He added the swans, which have poor forward vision, were likely to have come from a nearby reserve in Norfolk.

Mark Methwen, senior customer relations executive, said: "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 I believe have poor forward vision, hence the occasional contact with an overhead cable."

Common occurrence

Mr Methwen said: "According to our records, six out of the eight power cuts since November occurred between the times of 16:24 and 17:02 GMT, which in November and December would coincide with the dusk hours."

A spokesman from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, which runs the Welney reserve, said: "Collisions with power lines are always an issue with swans.

"We work closely with power companies across the country to ensure that flight diverters - large orange balls - are placed on lines to give the birds a better chance of seeing them."

UK Power Networks has apologised for the repeated loss of power and said staff had visited the village "with a view to making the network more resilient".

He said £50,000 had been put aside for the planned work.

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