Proposals to create 29km of pylons and cabling between two Suffolk villages are "unacceptable" and do not go far enough says the county council. 

Suffolk County Council has formally objected to the National Grid project between Bramford and Twinstead, which would see 18km of overhead lines and around 11km of underground cable through the Dedham Vale National Landscape and in the Stour Valley.

It comes after the Planning Inspectorate completed its examination assessment earlier this week and will now prepare a report for the Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Net Zero. 

A decision is expected in around six months’ time.

The power lines are intended to improve capability to securely transport energy from the East coast, with new offshore wind farms, Sizewell C nuclear power station, and connection with countries across the North Sea.

The council says that proposals do not go far enough to mitigate the impact of the scheme, and that supervision of construction would be inadequate.

Councillor Richard Rout, deputy leader and cabinet member for Finance and Environment at Suffolk County Council, said: “National Grid’s approach to the building of this project is unacceptable and disappointing, particularly given that we have been working closely with them since 2008 to develop the best possible outcome.

“We are very concerned about the shortcomings of the proposal. It does not provide us, or other local authorities, with adequate powers to protect the interests of our communities or environment during the construction of the project. This sets a wholly unacceptable precedent for other National Grid projects in Suffolk.

“We all recognise the need to deliver this project at pace, but we are seeking to secure safeguards and control mechanisms that are necessary and reasonable, and that have been agreed to by multiple energy project promoters in Suffolk, and elsewhere - we have been left with no choice but to object.”

The long-running pylon plans have been met with much opposition from the local community.

In 2021, campaigners at Suffolk Preservation Society, a campaign group to safeguard the heritage and landscape of the county, raised concerns about the impact of the scheme on Suffolk’s countryside.

In a statement, they said: “SPS accepts the requirement to upgrade the transmission capabilities of the network in this area due, in large part, to the transition to a low carbon economy and the current and proposed renewable energy schemes within and off the coast of Suffolk.

"However, in supporting the Nation’s current and future energy requirements, Suffolk is being disproportionately affected in terms of the combined environmental impact of onshore infrastructure including substations, cables, solar farms, and pylons routes.

“Therefore, funding must be made available to fully mitigate the impact of the proposals on Suffolk’s landscapes, its heritage and the communities expected to host these schemes.

"To that end, we would expect that a greater proportion of the new 400kV line be placed underground than is currently proposed and that the starting point for this consultation should be an adherence to the concessions given by National Grid when the Bramford to Twinstead upgrade was previously considered in 2013.”

The Planning Inspectorate will now prepare a report for the Secretary of State for Energy and Net Zero, with a decision expected in around six months time.

The proposal is expected to receive approval.

A spokesperson for National Grid said: “National Grid has worked closely with the Councils over many years as we have developed our proposals for the Bramford to Twinstead Reinforcement. From our three pre-application public consultations, through to meetings and discussions as part of the Examination process, feedback from officers, elected members, other organisations and the wider public has played a vital role in helping us to evolve our plans.

“With the Examination of our application closing this week, we are disappointed that the Councils have adopted this position.  Nevertheless, we will continue to work with them and others to help manage the impact of our proposals on the environment and local communities. We look forward to receiving a decision on our development consent order application later this year.”