Hintlesham: Pylon plans up before the public

PEOPLE living in and around two Suffolk villages have been examining controversial plans for a new power connection.

Last month National Grid unveiled its proposals for the new power link between Bramford and Twinstead.

The connection, which National Grid says is needed to meet growing demand, was proposed nearly three years ago and prompted strong opposition from the communities affected and the Stop the Pylons campaign run by the East Anglian Daily Times.

The energy giant was under pressure to bury the cables underground and not use pylons, which it said would be more affordable.

But when the plans were published it was revealed that only two 4km sections will be placed underground, much to the dismay of campaigners.

An area between Whitestreet Green and Leavenheath, which crosses through the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a second section through the Stour Valley, north of Bures, were selected to go underground.

National Grid says it will spend �207million on the revised project and that it would cost an extra �300m to bury the entire route – an amount it cannot justify to shareholders.

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People living in Chattisham and Hintlesham had the chance to examine the plans in more detail yesterday during a public engagement event organised by National Grid.

The villages are home to the Bury Not Blight Group but member Peter Eaton said there was little new information on show.

He said: “They promised to have a proper consultation and all they have got is today, and we turn up and say ‘it should go underground’ and that’s it.”

There will be a second drop-in event in Burstall Village Hall on July 4.

National Grid senior project manager Shaun Hughes said the sessions would give residents the opportunity to have their say on the plans.

He said: “Listening to local people is very important and we hope many will attend these events and give us their views.”

Mr Hughes said it was important feedback was received by July 27 as all representations would be considered by National Grid before it confirms its preferred route.

During the next stage of the project the energy giant says it will continue to consult with landowners, experts and the public and will carry out detailed environmental surveys to help identify where within the preferred route corridor the pylons and underground cable should be placed.

National Grid will then consult on its final draft proposal, before submitting a formal consent application to the Planning Inspectorate.

The application is expected to be made in 2013, after which the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change will make the final decision on National Grid’s proposals.

People can find out more about the project by visiting www.nationalgrid.com/bramford-twinstead

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