Council criticises plans for pylons through beauty spot

View across Tendring Hall Park near Stoke by Nayland Picture: Dedham Vale AONB

View across Tendring Hall Park near Stoke by Nayland Picture: Dedham Vale AONB - Credit: Archant

Plans to route new power lines through Constable Country do not sufficiently address the potential "significant impacts" on tourism, a local authority has said. 

Suffolk County Council has criticised National Grid Electricity Transmission’s (NGET) proposals for a new 18-mile line of 50m-high pylons from Bramford, near Ipswich, to Twinstead, near Sudbury, as part of the consultation process. 

The new line would allow an existing line of power lines to be removed.

A report to the council's cabinet on March 1 though calls for a full assessment to be carried out of the potential impact on tourism.

The report says: "The council anticipates that the proposed development, given its location across the Dedham Vale AONB, could have significant impacts upon visitor perception and ultimately visitor numbers, hence it is not acceptable for this impact to remain unassessed."

Parts of the countryside around Dedham Vale are included in the route, although the cables will be buried underground in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). 

The council will also recommend that overhead cables planned for Hintlesham Woods are re-routed parallel to existing lines or to the west, while better mitigation measures are needed in front of Hintlesham Hall country house hotel to offset the impact of the overhead lines. 

Most Read

The visual impact of Cable Sealing Ends, where overhead lines go underground, was also discussed in the report. 

Nigel Chapman, chair of Dedham Vale AONB, said: “The AONB Partnership are likely to welcome the embedded mitigation contained within the proposals- to underground the new cables that will run through the AONB.

"However, this will not be without significant damage during construction and the further negative impacts of siting overhead lines outside the AONB, including the industrialisation of the countryside brought on by the necessary cable sealing ends, where the new cables will transition from overhead to underground.” 

A spokesperson for National Grid said: “We are asking for feedback on the proposals and we very much appreciate the consideration being given to our plans by Suffolk County Council and its members. 

“We look forward to receiving their formal response and we will carefully consider any points they raise as we work to finalise our proposals before submitting a planning application in the winter.” 

James Cartlidge, MP for South Suffolk, has also been critical of the timing of the consultation and has called for more of the lines to be buried underground. 

The plans are part of a wider electricity network to take power generated by offshore wind farms from Norwich to Tilbury. 

The consultation runs until March 21.