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Suffolk County Council advocates offshore approach over electricity pylons

4C Offshore | Chloe Emanuel
By: Chloe Emanuel 10/08/2023 Suffolk County Council

Suffolk County Council has taken a firm stance against National Grid's proposed installation of 114 miles of electricity pylons in the region. In its official response to the ongoing consultation, the Council has voiced its preference for an offshore solution and raised objections to the pylons cutting through the county.

The proposed "Norwich to Tilbury" project by National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) has faced criticism and concerns from Suffolk County Council, with recommendations and objections outlined in a comprehensive 55-page response.

Councillor Richard Rout, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Environment at Suffolk County Council, emphasized the importance of fair treatment for local communities in projects like Norwich to Tilbury. He stated, "The Council absolutely supports projects to help deliver the country's energy security ambitions and meet the challenges of a changing climate. But if we are going to get behind projects like Norwich to Tilbury, our communities must be treated fairly and the impacts on them should be fully assessed."

The proposed project entails erecting electricity pylons and underground cabling spanning from Norwich to Tilbury, with a significant stretch of 33 miles passing through Suffolk, including an area beneath the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Councillor Rout highlighted the Council's primary concern for offshore solutions, suggesting that most of the cabling and infrastructure should be located at sea to avoid disruption to the Suffolk landscape. Despite this preference, the Council, as a statutory consultee, is dedicated to influencing the project's development if it proceeds onshore.

Several other critical issues are outlined in Suffolk County Council's report, including:

The necessity for underground cables in the Waveney valley to protect the delicate landscape around Diss.

Integration of smaller pylons throughout the project, particularly in Stowmarket and Diss.

Insufficient engagement with local communities, lacking fairness and quality.

Inadequate mitigation and compensation strategies for affected communities.

Councillor Rout further remarked, "Our communities should be afforded the respect of proper communication, be treated fairly, and benefit from the co-ordination of the significant energy projects affecting our county. Currently, I don't think energy developers are doing any of these things well enough – and that simply undermines any trust in a project amongst local residents and businesses."

The ongoing consultation, which constitutes the second part of NGET's non-statutory consultation, is set to conclude on 21 August 2023. Suffolk County Council urges concerned local residents to provide their input before the deadline to ensure that their voices are heard regarding this significant energy infrastructure proposal.

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