Moves to halt pylon expansion across Waveney

A GROUP of county councillors has thrown its weight behind a campaign to halt the proposed extension of Suffolk's pylon network.

The councillors this week spoke out against National Grid's plans to connect offshore wind turbines off Lowestoft to the county's existing power network, by linking it to new corridor of lines stretching the length of the Waveney Valley and the Broads.

The new pylons would be used to carry extra energy generated by the East Anglia wind farm and, eventually, Sizewell C; but the councillors insisted the power should be routed using high-voltage beneath the sea and underground.

Pakefield councillor Kathy Gosling was joined by colleagues Guy McGregor, Judy Terry, John Field and Tony Goldson in urging National Grid to consider alternative proposals.

Mr McGregor, councillor in charge of roads, transport and planning, said: 'As a plc, National Grid is interested in squeezing assets and keeping its shareholders happy.

'The network is based on old technology taking juice through Suffolk to London and the South East. We want a sea change, but National Grid risks losing all its investment in these pylons.'

Mrs Terry, Suffolk's Greenest County chief, said: 'If we can carry gas from Europe, it can't be that difficult to send electricity underground. National Grid doesn't seem to have an overall strategy. This is not a political issue. This is in the best interest of the county. More power lines would completely spoil tourism.'

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Mrs Gosling said she was 'horrified' by the plans, adding: 'We're taking action. As soon as people realise what is happening they should register their disappointment.

'It's not that we don't support wind farms – we don't support the way National Grid goes about things, just because it's the way things have always been done.'

A National Grid spokesman said: 'No final decisions have been made on how to connect on to the national grid.

'However initial studies – required as part of the offshore assessment process, and under which our obligations are to ensure the most co-ordinated, economic and efficient overall solution, with due regard to amenity, is taken forward by the offshore owner or developer – suggest Bramford would be the optimal potential connection point for this offshore project.'

A spokesman for ScottishPower Renewables and Vattenfall, developers of East Anglia Offshore Windfarm, said: 'We will be conducting an extensive evaluation of all the potential grid connection methods and will bring into account appropriate engineering, environmental and economic constraints.

'At this early stage we anticipate undergrounding the connection for East Anglia ONE will be the most appropriate solution.'

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