Colchester City Council consulted on environmental impacts of controversial pylon project

PUBLISHED: 13 December 2022

Colchester City Council has been consulted on its views regarding a controversial proposal to build 110 miles of pylons across East Anglia.

Since they were announced earlier this year, National Grid’s plans for a network of 50-metre pylons to be installed across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk have met with widespread opposition from residents and local authorities along the route.

The plans would see power lines run south-easterly past Washbrook, Copdock and East Bergholt before crossing the border into the Colchester district, running underground past Dedham and Langham, and then crossing the A12.

The current proposal would require a large swathe of countryside in Constable Country to be cleared of trees, hedges and archaeology to allow cables to be buried. The cables would re-emerge to form a new overhead line to Lawford heading westwards through Langham, West Bergholt, Aldham and then onwards to Chelmsford.

The scale and impact of the scheme, which has yet to be presented to the Planning Inspectorate for consideration, requires the council to be formally consulted at various stages of the project’s development.

In July, leading councillors made known their opposition to the project, citing the impact the high-voltage lines would have on the local environment and an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Last month, Colchester City Council was consulted on ways to capture the environmental impacts of the scheme against which the proposals will be assessed.

In its submission, the council commented on the environmental tests that would be required and reaffirmed its continuing opposition to the current scheme. The council continues to work with other local authorities along the proposed pylon route to force a rethink of the proposals to minimise the impact on communities, landscapes and heritage.

Cllr David King, Leader of Colchester City Council said: “We will continue to challenge National Grid’s proposals, their lack of explanation and justification, and their resistance to less damaging ways to meet demand and to reduce carbon emissions. 

“Pylons are countryside-blighting technology and wholly inappropriate. Most of Colchester is rural and highly valued for its landscape, farming, recreation and wellbeing. We have a duty to secure the least harmful scheme, and we remain committed to securing the best we can for Colchester and East Anglia as a whole.”

Cllr Andrea Luxford Vaughan, Portfolio Holder for Planning, added: “We remain unconvinced by this project, which seems to be driven more by cost than anything else.

“We are custodians of our environment and must challenge the preconceptions that have shaped this scheme to deliver a much better outcome for our residents, the environment, and the rural economy. There simply must be a better way to reinforce the grid without blighting our beautiful countryside and our communities.”

Page last reviewed: 13 December 2022


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