The consultation over plans for miles of pylons across swathes of Norfolk countryside has come under fire from council leaders, who say it is flawed.

South Norfolk Council leaders have hit out at National Grid's consultation over the scheme, saying the timing, over the summer, means people will miss out on having their say.

National Grid wants to build a major new 112-mile line from Dunston, near Norwich, to Tilbury on the Thames estuary, to carry power generated from wind farms off the Norfolk coast.

Diss Mercury: Pylons would be built across Norfolk farmlandPylons would be built across Norfolk farmland

The pylons, which will be 45-50m high, have been controversial, with critics saying the scheme will lead to the "annihilation of the countryside".

Consultation on the precise route - revealed last month - runs until August 21.

Diss Mercury: Lisa NealLisa Neal (Image: Archant)

But Lisa Neal, South Norfolk Council's portfolio holder for stronger, greener economy, has written to National Grid calling for a rethink on the consultation - and an extension.

She said: "It is vital that any consultation held is robust and meaningful and allows for all interested parties to take an active part.

"It is imperative that we ensure everyone has an opportunity to respond, especially as we now know where National Grid plan to site the pylons.

"Holding this consultation during July and August, when many people take their holidays and at a time when few parish councils have meetings must raise questions about how serious National Grid is in listening to the views of local people."

Diss Mercury: South Norfolk MP Richard BaconSouth Norfolk MP Richard Bacon (Image: Archant)

Campaigners, including MPs such as Richard Bacon, Jerome Mayhew and George Freeman, have questioned why the lines cannot go under the sea, running around the region’s coastline to reach its destination, as part of an 'integrated offshore grid'.

Mrs Neal said: "National Grid must also answer the question of why an off-shore option is not part of the consultation. Apparently, the company can run a cable underwater from Scotland to Yorkshire, the Eastern Green Link 2 scheme, but not around the East Anglian coast."

National Grid has said the scheme is needed to increase supply as demand increases and an offshore grid would be costlier to energy bill-payers and have less capacity than an overhead route.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) is said to be drawing up sweeping reforms so infrastructure can be built more quickly to help the country achieve its net zero targets.

Diss Mercury: Campaigners say they do not want the pylonsCampaigners say they do not want the pylons (Image: Newsquest)

A spokesperson for National Grid said: "We have listened to the feedback from several local authorities to deliver our eight-week public consultation, which shows how we have updated plans and responded to feedback from last year’s consultation.

"This includes presenting details of where we are proposing overhead lines and underground cables along the route, along with information on why we are not taking forward other options, including complete undergrounding.

"We are running online and in-person events, which have already been well attended, to make sure the consultation is as accessible as possible."



From the electricity substation at Dunston the new pylon route initially runs largely parallel to the existing line.

Diss Mercury: The route the pylons would takeThe route the pylons would take (Image: National Grid)

It is not until the route gets to Swainsthorpe that the two lines begin to diverge, with the new one heading out towards Mulbarton.

They then run closer together again before dividing where Brickkiln Lane meets Mulbarton Lane.

It is here the new route begins to head more southwest wards running across the edge of a solar farm towards Long Lane.

The village of Flordon will be flanked by both routes.

Between Fundenhall and Hapton the line begins to run more southernly before heading more to the west again on Long Stratton Road between Tacolneston and Forncett St Peter.

It is in this area that the route gets closest to homes, coming within about 400 metres of Forncett End.

As it heads south it runs past Tibenham Airfield and then adjacent to Winfarthing and Shelfanger.

To avoid running through the centre of Diss at Heywood Road the route heads westwards again towards Bressingham.

The pylons then run round the west side of Roydon, between the village and the Bressingham Steam Museum.

The route then runs south into Suffolk.


It was back in April 2022 when National Grid first started consultations about its ‘East Anglia GREEN' proposal to build a new line of pylons across swathes of the Norfolk and Suffolk countryside.

The plans were not well received then. The name of the scheme might have changed (National Grid now call it simply Norwich to Tilbury) but the anger over the proposals has only increased since they were first unveiled.

The pylons, up to 50 metres high, have been dubbed 'metal monstrosities' and critics have said they will lead to the "annihilation of the countryside".

The towers would stretch for 112 miles from Dunston, near Norwich to Tilbury, on the Thames estuary, and opposition to them has been vocal and vigorous.

Campaigners from the Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons action group have organised petitions against the proposals, which have been signed by thousands of people.

And MPs have raised concerns, with Norfolk's Richard Bacon, George Freeman and Jerome Mayhew joined by the likes of former home secretary Priti Patel, whose Essex constituency would be affected.

For their part, National Grid, which has just begun consultation on the precise route the pylons would take, says the line is vital to help the UK achieve its ambition of net zero emissions by 2050.

The energy company says the scheme is needed to increase supply as demand increases, particularly as the country moves towards more reliance on wind power, much of which will be generated off the Norfolk coast.

The latest consultation has sparked more criticism, with South Norfolk Council questioning the timing of it over the summer.

And a point which keeps being made is why the lines cannot go under the sea, running around the region’s coastline to reach its destination, as part of an 'integrated offshore grid'.

National Grid insists it did look at that before consultation started. But it said it would have a third of the capacity of an overhead line and "would not represent value for money to consumers".

It is a difficult situation. Green and clean energy is clearly needed, but it is frustrating that it looks as if it will come at a cost for some of Norfolk's precious countryside.