Angry campaigners from the Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons pressure group say the government is ignoring tens of thousands of East Anglians who are fighting National Grid plans to build 110 miles of 50 metre-high pylons across the countryside, when there’s a credible alternative.
The group says it has been refused repeated requests for meetings with the Department for Business Offshore Network Team to negotiate the reopening of the transmission review to include East Anglia.
Prime Minister Liz Truss announced last week that community consent will be needed before gas can be extracted by fracking. “Why does this requirement not also apply to energy infrastructure?” asks Rosie Pearson, who heads Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons. “Although she is an East Anglian MP, she still has not bothered to respond to our repeated emails seeking her views.”
Now the pylons group is urging all those concerned about pylons or other electricity infrastructure in East Anglia to write to Jacob Rees-Mogg, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to demand that a recent offshore network review is reopened to fully examine the viability of an offshore grid versus a destructive, short-termist pylon route across prime East Anglian countryside.
Most of the electricity generated by the North Sea wind-farms is destined for London. The solution of an offshore grid would take cabling from the wind-farms along the seabed around the East Anglia coast and up the Thames estuary to the Tilbury substation where it would connect to the London grid. This could save £6bn according to the National Grid’s own figures.
Janus van Helfteren, director of a Colchester-based schools photography business said he is ‘absolutely seething’ about National Grid plans and an absence governmental duty of care to the environment. “It’s a complete no-brainer to bury these cables under the North Sea – and it will be cheaper in the long-run.” He wonders why the Offshore Transmission Review team apparently excluded East Anglia. “It makes no sense,” he says. “It seems no one is approaching this key issue in a joined-up way. It’s all about simply taking the easiest route.”
Bressingham, Norfolk-based campaigner Alan Lloyd warned: “This government needs to take note. If they throw us under a pylons bus, we will throw them under one at the next election – which may not be too far off!”
East Anglia singled out
Pearson is unequivocal. “We urgently need the government to get its head out of the sand. An offshore grid makes both financial and strategic sense for energy transmission in East Anglia for the next 50 or more years.” She points out that North East England and Scotland will see an offshore transmission model rolled out. “How is it fair that they are given it?” she wants to know. “And while in other parts of the country, millions of pounds are being spent removing unsightly pylons, they want to build more of them here across the beautiful East Anglia countryside!”