Councillors urged to back call for rethink over pylon plans

Pylons

County councillors will debate the East Anglia GREEN pylon proposals at County Hall - Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Councillors across the political spectrum will be asked to back calls for a rethink over plans for an overhead electricity line stretching from Norwich to the Thames Estuary.

Norfolk County Council members are to be urged to vote to send a strong message to the government and National Grid that the county has "serious concerns" about the latter's East Anglia GREEN project.

That scheme would see a line of 50m high pylons running from Dunston, just south of Norwich, to Tilbury in Essex.

A map showing the new proposed power line through south Norfolk.

A map provided by National Grid shows the proposed route of the new power line, in purple. The line itself would run somewhere within the width of the purple band. Norwich can be seen to the north-east. The blue lines are existing cables. - Credit: National Grid/Google

The utility company says the scheme is needed to build more capacity in the UK’s power network, to help the country achieve its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

But the proposals have sparked anger. More than a dozen MPs have opposed the plans.

County Hall leader Andrew Proctor has written to National Grid and energy minister Greg Hands about "significant and totally unacceptable impacts on Norfolk’s communities, businesses and cherished landscape".

At a meeting of Norfolk County Council's full council on Tuesday (July 19), all 84 members will be urged to back a Conservative-led motion calling for a "refocus" on the plans.

Norfolk County Councillor Daniel Elmer. Picture: Norfolk County Coucil

Norfolk county councillor Daniel Elmer - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Conservative councillor Daniel Elmer, whose Forhoe ward the pylons would go through, has tabled the motion.

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It calls for the government and National Grid to look at an "offshore solution" and to talk to Norfolk and neighbouring county councils to achieve this.

The motion calls for National Grid to consider suggested alternative options and to make publicly available full, open and transparent information on all options, including offshore and undergrounding.

Zac Richardson, the National Grid's company director of new infrastructure, has previously said the firm does not believe it is "technically feasible or economic" for the line to go offshore.

A group of MPs from across the region have urged the government to intervene over the plans.

James Wild MP

North West Norfolk MP James Wild - Credit: Richard Townshend Photography

North West Norfolk MP James Wild has added his name to that campaign letter, joining his Norfolk colleagues South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman, Broadland MP Jerome Mayhew and North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker.

Meanwhile, Essex County Council leader Kevin Bentley has said Norfolk and Suffolk councils should join with his to campaign against the plans.