Controversial plans for a 114-mile power line, with pylons built on swathes of Norfolk and Suffolk countryside, are being rushed and should be halted, a charity has said.

An expert commissioned by countryside charity CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) said National Grid has overestimated how quickly it needs new infrastructure to get electricity from wind farms off the Norfolk coast to the south-east of the country.

Diss Mercury: Campaigners want the pylons to go under the sea, rather than over the Norfolk and Suffolk countrysideCampaigners want the pylons to go under the sea, rather than over the Norfolk and Suffolk countryside (Image: Newsquest)

Report author Dr Andy Tickle said power bosses should pause consultation over the Norwich to Tilbury pylon scheme, to re-evaluate how much it would cost to carry the electricity under the sea, rather than over land.

But National Grid bosses are standing by their contentious proposals, which are opposed by MPs, councils and people living along the pylon's route.

They said taking the cables offshore would cost more than £4bn, while onshore would cost less than £1bn.

Dr Tickle, an independent planning and campaign consultant with more than 40 years of experience, said offshore solutions could accommodate extra power flows at much lower costs than previously quoted by National Grid.

He said: "The Norwich to Tilbury line should now be paused for review whilst need, timings and alternative solutions are investigated more thoroughly."

Diss Mercury: Chris Dady, chairman of CPRE NorfolkChris Dady, chairman of CPRE Norfolk (Image: Archant Norfolk 2018)

Chris Dady, chairman of CPRE Norfolk said: "This is an evidenced and thoughtful report that, far from trying to undermine the UK achieving a decarbonised and secure energy system, seeks to ensure that such a programme has the greatest chances of success, based on best practice, strategic thinking and public support."

But a National Grid spokesman said: "We do not support the findings of the CPRE report.

"We need to progress the Norwich to Tilbury onshore project to be able to meet both the government’s target to connect 50GW of offshore wind by 2030 and our legal obligation to connect offshore wind customers to the grid.

"Delaying would mean not only missing this target and requirement, but also delaying homes and businesses in East Anglia and beyond having access to cleaner and more affordable electricity in the long term.”

READ MORE: Norfolk County Council opposes Norwich to Tilbury pylons

National Grid said taking the cables offshore would not meet requirements of the government and the regulator.

Consultation runs until Tuesday, June 18 at

A public information event about the plans will take place at Diss Town Football Club from 1pm to 6pm this Wednesday (May 15).