New line of pylons will 'destroy' natural countryside in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, claim opponents

  • ITV News Anglia's Victoria Lampard went to meet the opponents of the plans

Opponents of plans to build a 110-mile line of 50-metre high pylons across the countryside have said it will destroy the natural countryside.

National Grid is currently consulting with residents about its East Anglia GREEN project - a new overhead electricity line that will run from Norfolk into Suffolk and Essex - which it says is needed to help the UK achieve its ambition of net zero emissions by 2050.

But those opposed to the project believe there are other ways of connecting energy to homes that will not have such an impact on the landscape. 

Rosie Pearson's family own land in Aldham near Colchester, and her father planted a wood there to encourage wildlife 25 years ago.

She said: "You'll see pylons appearing all across the skyline. They'll carry on cutting across the wood, some trees will need to be taken down and then they'll continue over the horizon, going off as far as the eye can see.

"We're producing renewable energy off the coast of East Anglia - that's a good thing but that doesn't mean we should transport it any old how and destroy the environment just because it's green energy. 

"So they need to make sure the way they're transporting this energy is as green as it possibly can be and at the moment I don't believe that's the case."

Rosie's family land near Colchester is part of the proposed route for the chain of pylons Credit: ITV Anglia

The existing transmission network in East Anglia was developed in the 1960s and up until now has been able to cope with demand, but by 2030 the amount of renewable and low carbon energy connecting to the network will dramatically increase and National Grid says the current power lines will not meet future needs.

It is planning to build a new 400,000-volt electricity line, running south from Norwich, to Bramford in Suffolk and then on to Tilbury in Essex.

It will mostly be connected by new pylons but in Dedham in Essex, there are proposals for underground cables as the area is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

National Grid is proposing that the cables be underground in Dedham Vale in Essex as it is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Credit: ITV Anglia

Chris Dady, chairman of Norfolk CPRE, said he would like to see underground cables along the rest of the route too.

He said: "If we look at their proposal, which is actually putting in a second run of pylons alongside the first, I think that could be devastating for some communities [and] some homeowners, who might get caught between the two pylon runs."

David Holland, chair of Stour Valley Underground is urging people to get involved in the consultation process to help shape the East Anglia Green project.

He believes burying the cables undersea would be a better option.

He said: "We can take the energy in this case from the North Sea, from the wind farms and from places like Sizewell, round the coast and then into the Thames Estuary to Tilbury and connect it without detriment to the countryside or landscape."

A spokesperson from the National Grid said: "We are in the early stages of developing the East Anglia GREEN project and are asking for feedback from local communities on our proposed route and any local information will be welcomed. 

“The National Policy Statements set out that overhead lines will often be appropriate when we are developing new proposals like this, and therefore, our starting point will be to consider new overhead lines.

"Planning policy recognises that there will be some places where overhead lines are not appropriate, for example, at particularly sensitive or protected locations.

"For this reason we are proposing underground cables where the route crosses the Dedham Vale AONB.

"We very much appreciate and encourage feedback from the local people during this consultation and it will help shape our plans as we go towards another consultation in 2023."

The consultation runs until the middle of June.