Fears 'intrusive pylons' would surround market town

Electricity pylons.

South Norfolk Council has sent its response to National Grid over controversial pylon plans - Credit: PA

Opposition to plans for an overhead electricity line from Norwich to the Thames Estuary has grown, with fears a Norfolk town would be "surrounded on three sides by intrusive pylons".

National Grid's controversial East Anglia GREEN project would see a line of 50m high structures run from Dunston, just south of Norwich, to Tilbury in Essex.

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, with politicians including South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon and Norfolk County Council leader Andrew Proctor criticising them.

Thousands of people have signed a petition against the plans, calling for the project to go offshore instead.

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.

South Norfolk Council, which had already signalled it's concerns about the scheme, has now sent its official response.

The council said the importance of getting electricity to consumers should not be at the expense of the open landscapes, heritage assets, wildlife sites, economy and the wider environment.

It said it is not satisfied that overhead lines and lattice pylons are the most appropriate solution to National Grid’s need for increased capacity.

Diss councillor Graham Minshull

Diss councillor Graham Minshull - Credit: Simon Parkin

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Cabinet member Graham Minshull, who represents Diss, said: "We are concerned that consideration has not been given to other obvious routes, including the offshore option, or putting the pylons immediately adjacent to existing routes.

“Neither has any mitigation been suggested.

“I am really concerned that the market town of Diss, that I represent, would be surrounded on three sides by these intrusive pylons and they will pass right through the Roydon Fen.”

Spring sunshine around Diss Mere.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018

Concerns have been raised that Diss would be surrounded by pylons - Credit: Sonya Duncan

South Norfolk Council said "significantly more work" and more consultation and engagement is needed.

It said it wants to see a comparison of route options and assessments of the impacts on communities done.