Norfolk County Council slams 'totally unacceptable' pylon plan
- Credit: Ian Burt/Norfolk County Council
Norfolk County Council has added its voice to growing opposition to plans to build a new line of electricity pylons from Norwich to the Thames Estuary.
County council leader Andrew Proctor has written to energy minister Greg Hands expressing "serious concerns" over the National Grid's East Anglia GREEN project.
The proposal would see the 50m high structures run from Dunston, just south of Norwich, to Tilbury in Essex.
The National Grid has said the project is imperative to ensure the UK hits its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
However the scheme has faced fierce opposition since consultation began earlier this year.
In his letter to Mr Hands, the council leader confirmed that County Hall would be objecting to the scheme as it threatened to have "totally unacceptable impacts" on the county.
He wrote: “We’re proud of Norfolk’s role in the development and delivery of clean, sustainable energy and the plans for offshore wind energy in the North Sea are a vital part of delivering the government’s net zero emissions target by 2050.
- 1 Two neighbouring properties go up for sale - and they both need some TLC
- 2 Buses damaged in city centre collision
- 3 All you need to know ahead of the Lord Mayor's Celebration 2022
- 4 Blaze sees 20 passengers evacuated from city bus
- 5 New pub landlord welcomes back families and introduces street food menu
- 6 Road closures revealed for Lord Mayor's Celebration
- 7 Can you spot yourself in the Lord Mayor's Procession crowd?
- 8 Mobility scooter trashed by hazardous wheelie bins
- 9 Teen slapped with six points on licence - but she can't even drive
- 10 Thousands needed to restore historic Norwich village sign
“However, the current proposals by National Grid threaten significant and totally unacceptable impacts on Norfolk’s communities, businesses and cherished landscape.
“For that reason I have written to both National Grid and the energy minister, laying out our concerns and urging him to consider alternatives, not least offshore and underground options, that could allow the clean energy from the North Sea to join the National Grid without the disproportionate impacts that overhead cables could have on our county.”
National Grid’s director of new infrastructure, Zac Richardson, has previously said the firm does not believe it is "technically feasible or economic" for the line to go offshore.
Mr Proctor added his authority will “continue to work with the government and with the National Grid, as well as our partners here in Norfolk, to find an appropriate, sustainable way to ensure the green energy our county contributes to the UK can also benefit Norfolk as a whole”.
Under the current proposals, the line would go underground to pass through the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on the Suffolk-Essex border, but would run above ground for the vast majority of the approximately 100-mile route.
Campaigners from the Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons action group - who oppose the scheme - are among those pushing for the entire line to run offshore instead.
The campaign’s founder, Essex-based Rosie Pearson, described the scheme as "an old-fashioned, destructive project", highlighting the potential impact on the region's landscape.
The group has also launched its own survey to glean the public's opinion on the plans.
MPs from across the region - including South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon - have also together questioned why an overland route has been presented as a "fait accompli".
In their own letter to Mr Hands last month, they said: "Given that East Anglia GREEN involved an initial decision to reject an undersea option and that this is meant to be a public consultation on the ‘choice’ of how the electricity is transmitted – in a context of a government supporting an offshore grid – at the very least, we would ask that the consultation be expanded to permit the public to express their views on the wider choice of overland versus undersea."
Asher, Minns, executive director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, warned that some forms of energy infrastructure could not be avoided.
He said: "We have to see a massive transformation in the way we use electricity and the types of energy being generated - so it is inevitable we will need to accept more infrastructure as a result of this.
"We are in the midst of a climate and energy crisis that needs addressing now.
"New energy routes across land may be the quickest way of achieving this."
The project is expected to be discussed at a Monday meeting of South Norfolk Council’s cabinet.
The campaign group’s survey is open until June 14 and can be found at: https://www.pylonseastanglia.co.uk/
National Grid’s consultation is open until June 16 and can be found by searching for ‘East Anglia GREEN’ at https://www.nationalgrid.com/electricity-transmission/