THE work of the region’s young farmers and their commitment to safety is being recognised by Western Power Distribution (WPD), one of the sponsors of the Three Counties Farming Awards.

The electricity distribution network operator for Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire as well as the rest of the Midlands and South Wales, is sponsoring the Young Farmer category of the awards.

WPD’s Gloucester distribution manager Neil James said: “We have chosen to support the Three Counties Farming Awards because we recognise our responsibility to play a full and active role in our community, and awards like this are one way we can do that.”

Like young farmers across the Three Counties, WPD is committed to getting safety right.

With a significant part of WPD’s network crossing farmland, it is working with farmers and contractors throughout its distribution area to raise awareness of the hazards of working near the electricity network.

The tractor in the photo above had been set to auto steer when it crashed into the pylon.

Since April 2017 there have been 38 incidents of damage to the electricity network by farm vehicles in the Three Counties alone.

Across the UK in 2016-17 three farm workers died as a result of machinery coming into contact with overhead lines. Many more suffered serious burn injuries.

Over the past five years there have been more than 1,100 near misses involving machinery and overhead power lines. Harvesting machinery, tipper trailers, sprayers, loaders, irrigation pipes, ladders and stacking activities are often involved.

WPD’s Hereford and Ludlow distribution manager Nigel Sweet says it is important to raise awareness of these hazards.

He added: “Sponsoring the Young Farmer category gives us a chance to recognise the work they do, including their commitment to safety, and the impact they have on the future of their industry. I’d like to say good luck to everyone who has entered or been nominated.”

WPD’s electricity network of 15,000 pylons, 132,000km of underground cable, 91,000km of overhead lines and 295,000 pieces of switchgear delivers a safe and reliable electricity supply to more than 7.9 million customers around the clock at an average cost of 27p per household per day.

And when storms blow debris into lines or snow brings trees down, it is WPD’s engineers who are out braving the elements to restore power.

The Three Counties Farmer Awards are being organised by Newsquest Media Group, publisher of the Three Counties Farmer, and its sister newspapers and websites the Stroud News and Journal, Gloucestershire Gazette, Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard, Worcester News, Hereford Times, Malvern Gazette, Ledbury Reporter, Evesham and Cotswold Journal, Tenbury Wells Advertiser, Kidderminster Shuttle, Bromsgrove Messenger, Redditch Advertiser and Droitwich Advertiser.

The awards are supported by headline sponsor Harper Adams University, and entries are invited for 12 categories.

Awards will also be presented for the best family-run farm and best farm exhibiting sustainability and diversification.

The deadline for nominations is Wednesday, April 10.

Winners will be announced at

a gala dinner at the Three Counties Showground on Thursday, June 13.


to find out more and submit a nomination for the awards.