A new access bridge to the proposed new Sea Link station near Saxmundham could damage the River Fromus, Suffolk County Council has warned.

It has called on National Grid to rethink its plans in the next phase of consultations.

Meanwhile East Suffolk Council has called on the company to extend its consultation period to allow more people to have their say.

The bridge would be used during the construction of the scheme, as part of a private access route to the converter station site at Saxmundham.

Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council’s deputy cabinet member for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects, said: “Should the Sea Link project go ahead, the bridge will likely have significant impacts on the landscape, adjacent heritage assets, and the water environment.

“The proposed bridge appears to be absolutely the wrong approach, and a disproportionate solution for creating the site access. From our initial look at the plans, there are likely to be more suitable routes, which would be less harmful.”

Sea Link is a proposal for a new two gigawatt subsea high voltage direct current electricity connection, developed by National Grid Electricity Transmission. It is approximately 140km in length and predominately offshore.

It proposes a converter station near Saxmundham which will be up to 26 metres high, the cable landfall from offshore will be between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness, with around 12km of underground cabling connecting the sites, including a substation at Friston.

National Grid started a new consultation period on Monday to run until August 11.

Tom Daly of East Suffolk CouncilTom Daly of East Suffolk Council (Image: East Suffolk Council)

Tom Daly, East Suffolk's Cabinet member for Energy and Climate Change, said: “This very short timescale for meaningful consultation threatens positive public perception and effective engagement.

"It will be difficult to justify such a short engagement period that may not even span parish/town council meeting cycle at this holiday time of year, as effective engagement.

"I would appeal to National Grid to rethink this timeframe and extend, at least to the eight weeks taken previously”.

A spokesperson for National Grid said: ‘Since the close of our statutory consultation in December 2023, we have been reviewing all feedback and carrying out further technical assessments.

"As a result of this work, we have made some refinements to our plans that we want to share before we submit our application for development consent early next year.

"The refinements and changes we are proposing do not substantially alter the project as a whole; much of our proposal remains largely the same as presented at our consultation last year.

“Our plans for consultation are proportionate with the changes made to our proposals, and we have made the decision to undertake this further period of consultation in line with government guidance, and this approach is consistent with that taken on other National Grid projects in the past.”