Pylon plans set to be scrutinised

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new line of gigantic power pylons across the south Suffolk countryside are set to be discussed tomorrow.

Craig Robinson

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new line of gigantic power pylons across the south Suffolk countryside are set to be discussed tomorrow.

National Grid is looking to link an extra set of cables between its substation in Bramford, near Ipswich, and a power junction in Twinstead, near Sudbury.

Bosses have said they want to install up to 90 pylons along the route and that overhead lines would be much cheaper and less disruptive than installing an underground connection.

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In a report to be discussed by its cabinet tomorrow Suffolk County Council has criticised National Grid for not publishing responses to its current consultation - which runs until the end of the month - on its website.

It also urges the energy company to look at connection to an undersea power grid and to listen to the local community.

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It will also recommend that if the Infrastructure Planning Commission, which will make the final decision, accepts the case for new overhead lines, option 2b is the way forward because it will cause less environmental damage.

This would see the removal of a line of existing 132kv cables running past Hintlesham and Layham and replacing them with a 400kv line, to run alongside an existing 400kv line already operated by National Grid.

The report concludes: “Notwithstanding the policy objections to replacement of an existing 132kV line with a more substantial one through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this is considered preferable to establishing a totally new corridor across nationally undesignated, but equally attractive landscape in South Suffolk.”

It is also calling for sections of cable that run through environmentally sensitive areas - such as the Dedham Vale and Stour Valley - to be placed underground.

Last year the EADT launched a campaign, Stop the Pylons, to urge National Grid to find an alternative way of transporting power.

National Grid has said the extra line is needed to help accommodate increased demand and the future generation of electricity along the Suffolk coast.

It has previously said that it considers every case for undergrounding on its merits but the cost would be 12 to 17 times more expensive compared to installing pylons.

“Undergrounding can also have significant effects in terms of loss of landscape features, sterilising land assets and disturbance during construction,” a spokeswoman said. “We recognise that this is a major development and we are committed to public consultation.”

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