TV star Griff backs pylon campaign

ONE of the UK's best loved TV personalities has backed the EADT's Stop the Pylons campaign. Griff Rhys Jones, who has a home in Suffolk, has spoken out against National Grid's “despicable” plans.

Elliot Furniss

ONE of the UK's best loved TV personalities has backed the EADT's Stop the Pylons campaign.

Griff Rhys Jones, who has a home in Suffolk, has spoken out against the “despicable” plans by National Grid to build a new line of pylons between Bramford, near Ipswich, and Twinstead, near Sudbury.

The 56-year-old is currently in London preparing to take on the role of Fagin in the West End production of Oliver! but last night he signalled his support for the campaign, which was launched back in September.


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He told the EADT: “We just have to do everything we can. Nobody says we don't need the infrastructure, but we need to spend extra money so that we do not impact on what is really an important part of our history and culture.

“The whole of Suffolk needs to make it clear that they don't want to become a Thurrock or Thames Gateway-type area.”

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Mr Rhys Jones said it was “atrocious” National Grid had not even put forward the option of putting the new cables - which are needed to meet increased demand for electricity - underground

“They don't even suggest that it's even a remote possibility,” he added. “It's atrocious that they don't.”

Mr Rhys Jones first became known starring on the hit comedy shows Not the Nine O'Clock News and Alas Smith and Jones and has more recently been seen fronting programmes such as Restoration, Three Men in a Boat and Mountain.

He was awarded an honorary degree by the University of East Anglia in 2003 and is the former president of the Civic Trust, a charitable organisation set up to protect historic buildings and public open spaces.

Mr Rhys Jones - who has previously backed campaigners in their fight to stop Tesco opening a supermarket in Hadleigh - was urged to get involved in the pylon fight by a group of residents in nearby Hintlesham who live close to where the pylons could end up.

In a letter, he told them: “It is despicable. How long before they propose a third or fourth set of pylons - 30 years, 50 years? Can they route them around the wind farms they install as token billboards of hopeless ineptitude?

“Whatever their timing, we are only a moment in the long history of this impeccable rural landscape. And they will completely destroy it forever.

“Like heroin addicts they go on searching for a new vein until they have killed the place entirely.

“I am so often called to step in. But this is a real corker. The existing pylons are an absolute and abhorrent abomination motivated only by lazy cheapskate philistinism.”

The rural village is in close proximity to two of the four possible route corridors put forward by National Grid for the new pylons.

Option one would see a brand new set of 400kv cables strung alongside an existing line running to the north of Hintlesham while option two would see a line of 132kv pylons currently operated by EDF “taken over” and upgraded to 400kv by National Grid

Both of these proposals would see the pylons run through the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on their way to the Twinstead T power connection.

Route corridors three and four would see new pylons follow longer routes to the north of Hadleigh and Boxford.

A series of public events are currently taking place in villages that could be affected as National Grid seeks feedback on the plans.

The company claims undergrounding the cables would increase the cost by “12 to 17 times” and make locating and resolving faults much more difficult and costly.

A spokesman said it considered every case for undergrounding a power line “on its merits”, adding: “We have a statutory duty to develop and maintain an efficient and economical system.

“Undergrounding can also have significant effects in terms of loss of landscape features, sterilising land assets and disturbance during construction.

“The construction of an overhead line is less disruptive, as this only occurs every few hundred metres rather than along the entire route, and the traffic volume required for constructing an underground cable is much greater than an overhead line.”

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