Suffolk/Essex: Delight for campaigners as controversial pylon proposal is put on hold

John Foster (left) and Peter Eaton celebrate a victory in the fight against pylons.

John Foster (left) and Peter Eaton celebrate a victory in the fight against pylons. - Credit: Archant

A determined four-year fight to stop a swathe of electricity pylons being created across the Suffolk and Essex countryside took a step closer to victory yesterday, as it emerged the project had been put on hold.

Campaigners said the announcement from National Grid that the 400,000 volt electricity connection between Bramford and Twinstead, Essex, was not yet needed meant “common sense had prevailed”.

The firm said that an assessment showed any connection, initially earmarked for 2017, will now not be needed until the early 2020s – which is thought to mainly be down to the delay in the creation of Sizewell C.

The proposal could now take up to a decade before it is back on the table and people who have campaigned to stop the pylons, hope there will be more scope for cables to be placed underground in the future.

David Holland, chairman of the Stour Valley Underground group, said: “I am pleased about it because it provides enough time for new technology solutions to come through.

“I am personally extremely pleased. I think for us at the Twinstead end, this is very good news and allows more time for solutions to be found.”

Peter Eaton, of the Bury Not Blight group, added: “It seems National Grid have seen common sense.

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“We always say they are using 20th century technology for a 21st century problem.

“We are not saying we don’t want it in our backyard. We accept that, ultimately, they need to build Sizewell C but we are saying we don’t need to have pylons when we can bury the line.”

The firm’s proposal was first announced in 2009 but it faced a fierce backlash from people who said pylons would blight the area – they questioned why the cables could not be placed underground.

The EADT’s Stop the Pylons campaign was also launched and was well supported by the public.

Tim Yeo, South Suffolk MP, who also opposed the pylons, said he was delighted with yesterday’s announcement.

He added: “I think this is a real triumph for the persistence and determination of the people who have campaigned.

“Common sense looks as though it is going to prevail. We have argued for some time that this was not needed now and I am confident that if they do return with a new proposal in seven or eight years’ time that by then, undergrounding will be the norm.

“I think this has been a real great team effort and a wonderful outcome.”

James Finch, Suffolk County Councillor for Stour Valley, said: “I sincerely hope National Grid recognises that Suffolk will not lay down in its fight against pylons. When National Grid does reappear, whilst we will continue to engage with them constructively, they will find us as resolute as ever in our defence of this county’s natural beauty.”

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