Council stands firm against onshore overhead lines

PUBLISHED: 22 August 2023

Colchester City Council has reiterated its opposition to controversial plans to build 110 miles of pylons across East Anglia as part of the upgrading of the electricity grid.

In its response to the second non-statutory consultation by National Grid on the proposed pylon project between Norwich and Tilbury, the council said that onshore overhead lines would have a devastating impact on the local area, including the countryside, tourism, and the environment.

Locally, the proposals would see power lines run south-westerly past Washbrook, Copdock and East Bergholt before crossing the border into Essex, running underground past Dedham and Langham to a substation at Ardleigh, then crossing the A12 underground. A pylon line would then return across the north of Colchester to Great Horkesley.

The council has been working with other local authorities along the proposed route to oppose the use of overhead lines. In its second detailed response to National Grid’s consultation on the project, the council reaffirmed its objections to the pylons and its support for a wholly offshore subsea solution.

“We have consistently opposed the use of onshore overhead lines for this project,” said Councillor David King, Leader of Colchester City Council. “These lines would have a devastating impact on our beautiful countryside, our tourism industry, and our environment. We believe that a wholly offshore coordinated solution using subsea cables is the best way to proceed. Even underground cables onshore have a very significant potential impact with the loss of ancient trees and hedgerows.

"The visual impact of onshore overhead lines would be catastrophic. They would scar our countryside and blight our communities. They would also have a negative impact on tourism and recreation, which are important economic drivers for our area.

"The environmental impact of onshore underground cables would also be significant. They would pose a threat to wildlife and habitats. We believe that a wholly offshore solution would be much more sustainable. Subsea cables do not pose the same environmental risk and are also more resilient to extreme weather events.”

Councillor Andrea Luxford Vaughan, cabinet member for Planning, Environment and Sustainability, added: “We are calling on National Grid to reconsider its plans and to adopt a wholly offshore solution. We believe that this is the best way to protect our local area and to ensure that we can meet our future energy needs in a sustainable way.

“We have worked with other local authorities along the proposed route to oppose the use of overhead lines. We are united in our belief that this is the wrong solution for our area. A piecemeal approach with limited sections underground is tokenism and we need a comprehensive solution fit for the 21st century.

“We are confident that National Grid can find a way to meet our energy network needs without resorting to pylons and that a wholly offshore solution is feasible and affordable. We urge the company to listen to our concerns and to adopt a more sustainable and coordinated approach.”

Page last reviewed: 22 August 2023


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