NATIONAL Grid has decided to pause work on a project to remove eight pylons from the New Forest National Park.

Work at Hale Purlieu has been halted following advice from legal experts, the regulator and its independent stakeholder advisory group.

National Grid director of electricity transition David Wright said: "This project would remove eight electricity pylons while enhancing a nationally important landscape, and potentially improving and extending the important habitats in this beautiful part of the New Forest National Park.

"It has been developed over three years with the close collaboration and support of many local people and national environmental bodies.

"Our extensive community and stakeholder engagement throughout has shown strong support for these plans."

The decision was made in part due to "emerging complexities" surrounding European regulations designed to protect natural habitats of protected species, says a National Grid spokesman. These complexities would have made it "unlikely" that a planning application would receive approval before a funding deadline.

Mr Wright said: "The current round of funding is only available for a limited time, and due to what we believe is an unintended consequence of the regulations it has become clear that we will not be able to complete this in time.

"We would like to thank everyone for their engagement and involvement to date and sincerely hope that it will be possible to return at some future date when the legal position has been resolved."