Gisleham fears over north Suffolk pylon plan

OPPOSITION is growing to a proposal to build a network of pylons across north Suffolk amid fears that it would blight the countryside and damage tourism and wildlife.

Parish councillors at Gisleham have contacted The Journal to voice their concerns about National Grid's plans for a 26-mile chain of pylons standing 46m high.

Although the plans are at a very early stage, with further technical studies needed, the councillors fear that if the towering pylons are built, they would ruin the look of the area – putting off tourists visiting Lowestoft, harming wildlife and using up land that farmers might need to make a living.

A spokesman for Gisleham Parish Council told the Journal: 'Councillors have considered carefully the implications of such a proposal and would very strongly oppose the siting of pylons in the Lowestoft area, both for aesthetic and environmental reasons.

'They have no objection in principal, but in their opinion all connections should be via underground cabling.

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'The area relies very heavily on tourism, and pylons would have a detrimental effect for visitors wishing to spend their holidays along this pleasant coastal strip.

'From an environmental aspect, pylons are not only unsightly but also hazardous to wildlife and in particular to migrating birds. Parish councillors feel that it is important that the public are made aware of this possible proposal.'

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The network of new high-voltage power lines could be installed along the Norfolk-Suffolk border to distribute energy generated by the proposed East Anglia Offshore Wind Farm, off the coast of Lowestoft, and the eventual construction of the Sizewell C nuclear power station.

The new pylons would link up with existing power lines between Norwich and Bramford, near Ipswich.

National Grid has another option of laying underground cables to bring in the new power supply, but the company says this would cost 10 times the estimated �66m required to build the pylon network.

As well as Gisleham Parish Council, Suffolk County Council has registered its concerns and a campaign is being launched to protect the picturesque Waveney Valley from the threat of the giant pylons.

South Norfolk Council has called a public meeting in two weeks' time to discuss the issue and is calling for any new power lines to be buried underground.

Members of Norfolk and Suffolk county councils, Waveney District Council, Mid Suffolk District Council and local parish councils are also set to attend the meeting at 2pm on Friday, October 21 at Wortwell Village Centre, near Harleston.

In a letter sent to Gisleham Parish Council, Andrew Connolly, lead project manager at the National Grid, said that studies into the pylon plan would be completed by next spring but extensive research was still needed to establish how and where an energy supply connection should take place.

Mr Connolly added: 'I would like to reiterate that the project is still in its very early stages.

'We recognise there are concerns regarding any connection from the Lowestoft area into the existing overhead line between Norwich and Bramford, but until we have completed our technical studies there is very little information we can provide at this stage.'

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