East Anglia GREEN pylons: ‘connection should be via undersea cables’
CPRE Essex will be liaising with its East Anglian partner groups the Suffolk Preservation Society and CPRE Norfolk as it prepares a response to plans for a line of pylons more than 160 feet high.
If built, the so-called East Anglia GREEN scheme will entail the pylons running some 112 miles from Norwich to Tilbury via a substation at Bramford in Suffolk.
The proposal has sparked uproar among many affected by it and a petition calling for its abandonment and replacement with “a strategic offshore grid” has drawn more than 15,000 names of those concerned by damage to the East Anglian landscape and potential health risks.
Although National Grid, which is behind the plans, has indicated that stretches of cables could be placed underground, such as in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty near Stratford St Mary, that is not considered sufficient by campaigners.
In contrast, setting out its case for the pylons and presumably the reason for the GREEN tag, National Grid says: “The UK has set a clear ambition for our country to be a global leader in clean energy. The government has set a commitment to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and an ambition to connect 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030 – enough energy to power every home in the country.
“To achieve this, offshore wind is being developed at scale and around 60 per cent of the current offshore wind projects will come ashore along the East Coast.
“Couple this with new nuclear generation proposed at Sizewell C and greater interconnection with countries across the North Sea, we expect to see a significant increase in the level of renewable and low-carbon electricity generation connecting in East Anglia.
“While our existing high-voltage electricity network in East Anglia has been sufficient until today, it doesn’t have the capability needed to reliably and securely transport all the energy that will be connected by 2030 while working to the required standards.
“In the first half of this decade, we are investing significantly in upgrading the existing network, but that still won’t deliver the capability that is needed. We need to reinforce the region’s network and to increase the network capability to carry the clean green energy that is proposed…
“It will play a vital role in delivering electricity efficiently, reliably, and safely and will support the UK’s move to reduce carbon emissions.”
A National Grid consultation on the proposal ends on Thursday, June 16. To take part, click here
CPRE Essex is keeping a keen eye on the proposals as they develop. Tricia Moxey, vice-president, said: “We are concerned about this, as are a significant number of other organisations, including parish councils in Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, as well the Dedham Vale Society and the Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons Action Group.
“We are hoping that our combined actions in raising awareness of the issues will result in more people taking part in the consultation.
“CPRE Essex will be commenting before June 16, questioning the need for more pylons rather than an undersea cable.
“Fiona Cairns, the director of our friends the Suffolk Preservation Society, is working with the team at CPRE national office to meet relevant parties to discuss the matter.
“In addition, there is considerable opposition from a group of East Anglian MPs who have come together to form the Off Shore Electricity Grid Task Force. They will continue to lobby ministers and others about these proposals.
“With North Essex MP Sir Bernard Jenkin as its chairman, this group is working with other MPs in the east of England to stop these new pylons marching across the East Anglian countryside.
“We would encourage everyone concerned about the plans to contact their MP or representative on the county council.
“Those of us who live in Essex appreciate its gently undulating landscapes, especially in areas where there are no intrusive overhead powerlines. Just because it is not a designated landscape, it still has value as it is unspoilt by industrial features.
“In addition to the visual blight to local landscapes with more pylons marching across the East Anglian countryside, they should also be avoided as there is predicted increase in stronger winds. The storms last winter resulted in electricity supplies being disrupted for many across the eastern counties, causing considerable inconvenience to households and businesses.
“The UK has a number of existing undersea cable connections to Norway, Belgium and France, so connecting the proposed offshore arrays via undersea cables to appropriate locations should be the preferred option.”
- To sign the petition ‘SAY NO TO 180km of Essex Suffolk Norfolk pylons – and build a strategic offshore grid instead’, click here