Bramford/Twinstead: National Grid to put controversial pylons plans on hold

National Grid have put their pylon plans on hold

National Grid have put their pylon plans on hold - Credit: Archant

Controversial proposals to install pylons across the Essex and Suffolk countryside have been put on hold, electricity bosses have revealed.

A proposed 400,000 volt connection between Bramford, near Ipswich, and Twinstead is now needed later than originally planned, according to National Grid, following updated information from power generation companies.

The original plans had caused controversy - with campaigners strongly opposed and the EADT launching its Stop the Pylons campaign to get the proposed structures put underground.

The utilities company has been assessing the latest information from those companies proposing to build new power generation around the East Anglia region, including data about when they would like to start producing electricity. This shows the connection is now expected to be required in the early 2020s rather than 2017.

National Grid’s assessment confirms that the proposed 400,000 volt overhead line and underground cable will still be needed to connect new sources of power, including low carbon electricity, to replace old coal and nuclear power stations that are closing.

As a result of this latest information National Grid is putting the project temporarily on hold.

The company had been planning next year to carry out further public consultation and apply for permission to build the Bramford-Twinstead connection with the aim, had permission been granted, of constructing the connection by 2017.

Public consultation and the application will now take place nearer to the time when the connection is needed.

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Brian Smethurst, senior project manager at National Grid, said: “It’s part of our role to connect people to the energy they use and we routinely have to adjust our plans to match those of the generators that we connect to our system. This connection will be paid for through people’s electricity bills so we must ensure we only build equipment when it is needed.

“This connection is still necessary to connect new sources of low carbon generation to the system. We will continue to liaise with the generators to ensure this connection is delivered when it is required.

“We remain committed to consulting on our proposals at every stage. We are writing to local communities to explain what this means for them and we will be in touch with people over the coming months and years to keep them informed of any developments on the project.”

James Finch, county councillor for Stour Valley, said: “Today’s announcement is further evidence that the system is broken. That National Grid pursued a scheme for so long which was clearly not needed at this time is a farce. National Grid’s decision to suspend the project is therefore a victory not only for common sense, but for the people of Suffolk.

“Hopefully this decision is an indication that they are beginning to listen to what the county council and local people have been saying for years - and that equally, therefore, they have taken on board that any of their schemes in Suffolk should be entirely underground.

“It is indeed regrettable that communities across Suffolk and Essex have been ‘strung along’ for so long, but I sincerely hope National Grid recognises that Suffolk will not lay down in its fight against pylons. When National Grid does reappear, whilst we will continue to engage with them constructively, they will find us as resolute as ever in our defence of this county’s natural beauty.

“In the meantime we mustn’t be complacent; the county council will continue to work with the other councils and local communities to use this pause as an opportunity to further lobby Government.”

National Grid has published a report – the Bramford-Twinstead Need Case 2013 - which explains the changes to proposed power generation projects.

This can be found on the project website at: