'We will listen to pylon concerns'

NATIONAL Grid bosses have pledged to listen to EADT readers' concerns about plans to string a line of pylons across the Suffolk and Essex countryside.

Elliot Furniss

NATIONAL Grid bosses have pledged to listen to EADT readers' concerns about plans to string a line of pylons across the Suffolk and Essex countryside.

Nearly 1,000 people have joined our campaign to stop plans to build up to 90 pylons for a 15-mile stretch of overhead electricity cables between Twinstead, near Sudbury, and Bramford, near Ipswich.

Power bosses have put forward four proposed routes for the pylons and the first stage of consultation has now finished.

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They say the new cables are needed to meet the growing demand for electricity in the south of the country - and that the cost of putting them under ground would be many times more expensive.

But, after a barrage of opposition, National Grid said officers would take people's concerns into consideration.

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Jim Street, senior project manager, said: “We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to give us their feedback. During the past months some firm views have been expressed and challenging questions posed, but at the same time people have been very courteous and listened to what we have had to say.

“We will be carefully considering all the views we have received before making a decision. In due course we will produce a publicly-available consultation report outlining the issues raised and how National Grid intends to respond.

“We will be announcing our next steps in the spring. We will then carry out further consultation until we apply to the Infrastructure Planning Commission in 2011 for a Development Consent Order.”

Over the past five months since the plans were announced, the EADT has been seeking feedback from the public about the proposed pylons.

The company's representatives toured many of the villages that could be affected by at least one of the four route options put forward.

Parish and district councils along with Suffolk County Council have all had the chance to put their views across, while three campaign groups have been fighting the proposals since they were announced.

The Groton Pylon Alliance and Stour Valley Underground groups have both set up websites that represent the many villages affiliated to them, while petitions and public meetings have also been organised.

The Bury not Blight group, based in Hintlesham, near Hadleigh, even secured the backing of television star Griff Rhys Jones, who helped push the matter into the national news.

Mr Rhys Jones lives in the heart of the area that would be affected by the proposals and said the Suffolk countryside was “staggeringly important” as a world heritage site.

Terry Hunt, EADT editor, said: “The widespread support we have received for this campaign sends an unmistakeable message to National Grid - Suffolk does not want any more pylons.

“Our county was first ravaged by these monsters way back in the 1960s. It is totally unacceptable to cause even more environmental damage in the hi-tech 21st Century.”

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