Babergh adds its voice to the pylons protest

Generic picture of electricity pylons stretching across the fields between Gissing and Tivetshall St

Concern is growing over plans for more power lines across the Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex countryside - Credit: Archant © 2006

Babergh District Council says plans for 180km of overhead cables across East Anglia will be the “industrialisation of our countryside”.

National Grid has launched a pre-application consultation on its East Anglia GREEN proposals for new power lines running from Norwich to Tilbury, via the substation in Bramford.

It says the 400kv pylons, likely to be around 50-metres high, are needed to meet the increasing demand on the network.

But a swathe of concerns have been raised over the environmental and visual impacts the pylons will have, with a host of calls already for a subsea alternative to be developed.

Babergh is the latest authority to object to the proposals.

Dave Busby

David Busby, Liberal Democrat councillor Copdock and Washbrook - Credit: BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCIL/PAUL NIXON PHOTOGRAPHY

Liberal Democrat councillor for Copdock and Washbrook, Dave Busby, said: “As far as we are concerned there is only one option, and that should be subsea.

“We should be resisting every industrialisation of our countryside.

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“We are a rural countryside, we are rural counties – the tourists come to see us for that, and people live here because of that.”

National Grid has proposed burying some of the cables underground through the area of outstanding natural beauty.

Clive Arthey

Clive Arthey, Independent councillor for Lavenham at Babergh District Council - Credit: Babergh District Council

But Independent councillor Clive Arthey, deputy council leader and cabinet member for planning, said that wasn’t enough.

He added: “We want subsea. We don’t like overhead, we don’t like overhead with burying of some cables because that has an impact on our communities and landscape as well.”

John Ward, Conservative leader at Babergh District Council, is now faced with revamping his cabinet

John Ward, leader at Babergh District Council - Credit: BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCIL

Independent Conservative council leader John Ward said: “A large number of people are currently potentially affected by it in terms of their wellbeing, as well as their house price values which inevitably will be impacted by it.

“It’s causing a lot of people a lot of upset and anguish, so this particular issue must be resolved to set their minds straight.”

National Grid said the existing network was developed in the 1960s and, to date, had been able to meet demand.

However, increased renewable and low carbon power by 2030 meant demand would increase significantly and the existing power lines did not have the capacity to meet it without reinforcement.

The consultation runs until June 16. To take part and to find out more visit www.nationalgrid.com.