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Consultation opens on planned National Grid pylon route through Suffolk as MP James Cartlidge criticises proposal

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People concerned by proposals to build a new line of electricity pylons through Suffolk have been urged to make their voices heard, as a consultation begins this week.

An informal public engagement period has been launched on National Grid’s East Anglia Green Energy Enablement (GREEN) project – a reinforcement of the high voltage network between Norwich in Norfolk and Tilbury in Essex.

The planned 400-kilovolt pylon route is understood to travel through countryside east of Hintlesham, and into the Dedham Vale Area of Natural Beauty (AONB), near villages such as Stoke-by-Nayland.

The proposals have drawn concerns about the impact they will have on the Suffolk countryside
The proposals have drawn concerns about the impact they will have on the Suffolk countryside

The proposals are intended to support the transmission of energy generated by offshore wind, as part of the Government’s ambition of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

National Grid stated the region’s existing network lacks the capability to reliably transport all the offshore energy that will be connected by 2030, so a reinforcement is needed.

However, the proposals have drawn concerns about the impact they will have on the Suffolk countryside and the communities living along the pylon route.

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge said his initial impression of the scheme is of 'a wholly unsatisfactory proposal'.

“I am very concerned about the proposed route of this line of pylons, as they will go through beautiful areas of South Suffolk’s countryside that do not currently host this type of infrastructure,” he said.

"The proposals state that the section of the route that travels through the AONB will be undergrounded, but I had been under the impression from meetings held to date that those pylons outside the AONB would be likely to upgrade existing infrastructure – potentially significant, but clearly less impactful compared to a completely new run of pylons on currently open countryside.

“To sufficiently reduce the impact on our countryside, the entire section of pylons outside the AONB would need to be under-grounded, or better still, run undersea via a ‘bootstrap’ connection – such as are already in use off the coast of East Anglia, and around the UK.

“I have consistently advocated undersea electricity transmission bootstraps, carrying the green energy produced on our shore to the population centres in London and the South East, and the East Anglia GREEN proposals demonstrate how necessary it is to improve the way we transmit energy across the country.

“These proposals will not be acceptable to a great many of my constituents, and I encourage all local residents and stakeholders to respond to the consultation.”

To view the proposals in greater detail and contribute to the consultation, click here.