East Anglia pylons review to consider 'offshore options' after campaign to protect countryside

Campaigners fear new pylons would ruin the countryside in East Anglia.
Campaigners fear new pylons would ruin the countryside in East Anglia. Credit: PA

Campaigners fighting a 110-mile line of pylons through the East Anglian countryside have welcomed a review of the plans.

National Grid wants to build a new network of 50-metre high pylons through Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex to carry energy generated by offshore wind farms.

The proposal, known as East Anglia GREEN, has angered opponents who say the electricity should be carried by power lines under the sea, rather than through countryside.

The government has now agreed to a review by the Electricity System Operator (ESO), which will consider offshore routes.

Campaigner Rosie Pearson, head of Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons, said: "It is great because it sounds like they have listened and they are looking at a whole variety of options and trying to do a co-ordinated approach with offshore as one of the options."

National Grid has previously said the cost of running the cables offshore would be far more expensive and the option was not included in a public consultation.

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge said there now appears to have been a U-turn and offshore and onshore options would be considered by the new ESO review.

"What my constituents have wanted is a fair process, with open discussion of the relative merits of onshore and offshore options," said Mr Cartlidge.

"It now appears that we will get that information, so that a proper debate can proceed and I would strongly encourage ESO to involve my constituents in that process as much as possible.”

The pylons would run from Norwich, to Bramford, Suffolk and Tilbury, Essex. Credit: National Grid

MP Sir Bernard Jenkin, who represents Harwich and North Essex, said: “It’s about time that the views of our constituents were taken into consideration, so I am grateful that National Grid and the ESO have listened.

"Ministers have responded too. The so-called consultation was becoming a joke, without proper consideration of the alternatives.

"This is not going to solve the problem we face, but it starts to open up the possibilities of viable alternatives."

On the East Anglia GREEN website, National Grid says new energy infrastructure is essential due to a "significant increase" in renewable and low carbon electricity in East Anglia.

It adds: "It will play a vital role in delivering electricity efficiently, reliably, and safely and will support the UK’s move to reduce carbon emissions." 

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