New pylons will cut through 'beautiful areas of Suffolk countryside', says MP
- Credit: Office of James Cartlidge
New proposals for a line of pylons stretching across East Anglia from the Norfolk coast to the Thames estuary are to be published on Thursday - and are set to cause a new row in Constable Country.
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge has warned the new line of pylons running south from Bramford, to the west of Capel St Mary and Stratford St Mary before looping around the north of Colchester, would seriously damage Constable Country.
But energy bosses say the infrastructure is essential to carry "clean energy" to homes.
The proposal is part of a new line of pylons proposed to take power from offshore windfarms to London. The pylons themselves would run from Norwich to Bramford and from Bramford to the Thames Estuary - an overall length of 180km.
An informal consultation over the next eight weeks is due to be followed by a formal consultation next year. Detailed proposals would then be published and the National Grid hopes they will be approved in 2025/6 allowing work to start in 2027 and for the network to be complete by 2031.
But Mr Cartlidge warned: “I am very concerned about the proposed route of this brand-new line of pylons as they will go through beautiful areas of South Suffolk’s countryside that do not currently host this type of infrastructure.
"The proposals state that the section of the route that travels through the AONB will be undergrounded, but I had been under the impression from meetings held to date that those pylons outside the AONB would be likely to upgrade existing infrastructure – potentially significant, but clearly less impactful compared to a completely new run of pylons on currently open countryside.
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"While I will hold further direct engagement with National Grid in the coming days, alongside my colleague Sir Bernard Jenkin MP, to bottom out as much detail as possible, my initial impression is of a wholly unsatisfactory proposal.
"To sufficiently reduce the impact on our countryside, the entire section of pylons outside the AONB would need to be undergrounded, or better still, run undersea via a ‘bootstrap’ connection – such as are already in use off the coast of East Anglia, and around the UK."
The project, called East Anglia Green, is seen as vital to get power from the North Sea into the National Grid.
Liam Walker, project director for East Anglia Green, said: “This reinforcement between Norwich and Tilbury is essential to carry more clean energy to homes and businesses across the UK, and to help the country reach net zero by 2050.
"We hope local residents will be able to join us and hear more about what we are proposing and give us their feedback on our plans."
Details of how to comment and to find out where there are public information sessions visit the National Grid website here.