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National Grid launches consultation on East Anglia pylons

National Grid launches consultation on East Anglia pylons

National Grid today launched its latest public consultation on its proposals to upgrade the electricity infrastructure between Norwich and Tilbury, previously known as East Anglia Green.

The consultation will run for eight weeks and the energy company is asking residents to share their opinions on the updated proposals, which could see the installation of pylons between existing substations in Norwich, Bramford and Tilbury, as well as a new substation in Tendring.

Proposals to dig up parts of the Dedham Vale area of outstanding natural beauty to make way for underground cables have received fierce criticism as has the moves to introduce unsightly pylons over the countryside.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Beautiful - Dedham Vale is an area of outstanding natural beautyBeautiful – Dedham Vale is an area of outstanding natural beauty (Image: Archant 2022)

Following further assessments and feedback from the public, National Grid now plans to extend its underground cabling from the area of outstanding natural beauty to the new substation in the Tendring peninsula, rather than relying on overhead wires to connect the substation to the network.

Underground cables will also connect the new transmission line to the Tilbury substation.

Asked why most of the project involved overhead wires, National Grid bosses said they had considered all viable options, taking into consideration the impact the cost of the project would have on consumers’ bills, and they deemed the wider installation of underground cables too expensive and disruptive.

The proposed new infrastructure will be able to transport enough energy to power six million homes.

Affected landowners have been contacted already, and National Grid will be writing to those landowners again today to invite them to participate in the next stage of the consultation process.

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Project director Liam Walker said: “The government’s net zero target means an increase in new renewable electricity generation such as offshore wind power.

“We’re proposing new infrastructure that will connect this green energy to the grid and allow clean electricity to power homes and businesses across East Anglia and the UK, boosting our home-grown energy security and progress towards net zero.

“This latest consultation is another part of our engagement with communities and stakeholders along the proposed route and we encourage people to share their views on the updated proposals.”

The updated proposals will see fewer wires draped across Essex’s countryside, but that still isn’t good enough in the eyes of campaigners.

“What’s the point in doing any damage to the countryside whether it be overhead lines or undergrounding,” said Rosie Pearson.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Campaigner - Rosie PearsonCampaigner – Rosie Pearson (Image: Rosie Pearson)

The founder of the Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons action group continued: “Underground lines are very disruptive. It might be slightly better than pylons, but the overall picture is they haven’t listened to anything anyone has told them.”

Commenting on further proposals by National Grid to install an underwater line stretching between Suffolk and Kent, the campaigner, who believes offshore energy is the way forward, accused the energy company of “picking and choosing what works for them”.

Colchester Archaeological Group chairman Mike Hamilton-Macy fears the construction of pylons or underground wires could ruin the areas rich heritage, a lot of which remains uncovered.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Concerned - Archaeology enthusiast Mike Hamilton-Macy (right)Concerned – Archaeology enthusiast Mike Hamilton-Macy (right) (Image: Mike Hamilton-Macy)

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“Why they persist with this Victorian technology, I just don’t know,” said Mike.

The Fordham resident added: “Why can’t they put in an offshore system? Other countries are doing it.”

Residents can take part in the consultation by attending in-person events, online webinars, or by visiting the National Grid website.

Events will be held at Lawford Venture Centre, in Bromley Road, Lawford, on July 8, and at Langham Community Centre, in School Road, Langham, on July 13.

  • June 25, 2023