How will new line of pylons affect Suffolk and Essex?

Pylons in the countryside

National Grid has revealed more details of its proposed new route of pylons from Norfolk to the Thames Estuary through Suffolk. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Further details of the proposed new high-voltage pylon route to carry power from North Sea windfarms to London have been published by National Grid as part of its new consultation scheme.

It shows the route of the proposed new line from Norwich to Tilbury in the south of Essex via the Bramford sub-station near Ipswich.

National Grid map

A National Grid map from its document showing the possible route of the new pylons - including the existing pylon network. - Credit: National Grid

The most controversial element of the route is from Bramford to Colchester where it passes through Constable Country.

The section in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty will have its cables laid underground - but South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge has expressed concerns about the impact of pylons near what is a very important area for tourism.

National Grid wants to dig the trench to the west of the AONB near Stratford St Mary to avoid causing disruption to popular area around Dedham and Flatford or the important wildlife area at Cattawade near Manningtree.

It also plans to build a new sub-station at Ardleigh near Colchester to feed in power from the Greater Gabbard and Galloper windfarms off Clacton into the network.

National Grid has published a 76-page document outlining its plans for the new route - and is holding a number of information sessions in the area between now and June 16.

There are sessions in Palgrave, Needham Market, Burstall, Holton St Mary and Lawford as well as other locations in Norfolk and Essex. There are also online webinars to give people the chance to find out more. Details can be found on the National Grid website

This is just part of a long process - the preliminary public consultation is being held until mid June, and then formal plans will be published next year with a formal consultation in the middle of 2023.

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That should lead to a formal application to build the new cable in the winter of 2024 and a decision in 2025/26. National Grid hopes to start work on the pylons in 2027 and for them to be fully operational by 2031 by which time the huge new wind farms in the North Sea should be coming on stream.

Meanwhile those concerned about the plans - including Mr Cartlidge - are still urging National Grid to consider an alternative proposal to bring power in through an undersea cable that comes ashore nearer the Thames Estuary.