Anger over revised route for 112-mile pylon line through Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex countryside

  • Hannah Pettifer reports for ITV News Anglia on the reaction from those affected

Campaigners have reacted angrily after the revised route of a 112-mile pylon across the East Anglian countryside was revealed.

The line is intended to take power generated by offshore wind farms from Norwich to Tilbury in Essex, where it can feed the energy-hungry south east of the country.

National Grid says the infrastructure is needed to handle the energy load, but campaigners want the design to be scrapped in favour of an offshore solution, which they say would protect the countryside and save money.

Nikki Maguire is one of those affected - she says she has been living a nightmare for the past year.

In April 2022, she was told her home in Boxted in Essex was close to where the proposed network of pylons would go, and on Tuesday she found out exactly how close.

If it goes ahead, her rural home will be within 200m of four pylons.

The power line will run for 112 miles, mainly overground, through Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. Credit: ITV News Anglia

She said: "I think renewable green energy is great but equally, it's not green if it's going to trash our countryside.

"When you look at a map, this energy is being made in Norfolk off the coast and it's coming to Tilbury off the coast. "Any person can actually see that it can go along the coastline."

The connection of new renewable projects mean the generating capacity is expected to increase from about six gigawatts (GW) currently to about 19GW by 2030.

Since the initial consultation, the Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons Action Group has gathered 23,000 signatures and the support of many local MPs against the plans.

They want National Grid to look at an offshore option where the energy generated by the wind farms is carried by power lines under the sea rather than through the countryside.

Spokesperson Rosie Pearson said the development of offshore renewables in the North Sea was "a huge success story" but a different approach should be considered.

Rosie Pearson says campaigners want National Grid to think again. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"Those windfarms need to connect to each other and then to a giant super highway which takes the power offshore, stays offshore, into London where it's needed," she said.

"We know that National Grid has reports that show it's a better option for the environment and communities, and that it's a cheaper option than the current unplanned piecemeal approach."

National Grid says the offshore option would cost up to £4bn compared to onshore pylons costing around £800m.

Liam Walker, from the National Grid, said the body was eager to gather people's feedback on the new plans.

"We plan on holding 12 face-to-face consultation events with four online webinars. We're really interested and keen to obtain further feedback on how our proposals take shape."

Campaigners say the feedback from the initial consultation has not been listened to as only a few tweaks to the original plans have been made.

A second consultation on the plans opened on Tuesday and will run until 21 August.

A third will take place next year, after which the final plans will be submitted.

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