Fresh hope in pylon protest

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ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners are hoping that National Grid is softening its stance and will bury power cables across land near Sudbury rather “blighting the landscape” with electricity pylons.

Hopes are being raised with the distribution of a National Grid newsletter which updates householders on projects, including the company’s plans to upgrade power lines from Bramford sub station to Twinstead Tee, near Sudbury.

In the newsletter, National Grid says it is waiting to see an independent report on the cost of undergrounding before moving on with their consultation. The report compares the cost of underground cabling with the cost of overhead lines.

Last year, National Grid held consultations with residents in surrounding villages to present four different routes or “corridor” options. It was due to report back to householders in the Autumn, but at the time announced it was delaying its decision on which route to take to carry out more consultations and review 3000 pieces of individual feedback.

David Holland, from Stour Valley Underground, a campaign group established to oppose electricity pylons said National Grid’s latest newsletter to householders showed signs of taking account of the group’s views.

“The cover picture has no pylons and the project’s name now seems to have changed to the Bramford To Twinstead Tee Connection with no mention of overhead lines. They must have realised that we see these iniquitous intrusions in our landscape as profoundly ugly, so unlike the first leaflet they sent us,

“Could this be a sign of a change of emphasis or even that they are considering the underground strategy we have advocated all along? That might be a little too wishful, but a page of the newsletter is dedicated to undergrounding cost reports and consultations.”

He said one interesting fact to note was that the company were pressing ahead with work on rewiring the existing overhead power lines across East Anglia and replacing existing conductors with new ones.

“We wonder if the rush is consequent of a strategic decision to put the infrastructure in place to add pressure for a windfarm connection strategy that brings a full fifth of the UK’s electricity through our valleys. We, along with many others including Suffolk County Council believe that this is the wrong strategy and that a more direct connection to London and the supergrid should be implemented.”

National Grid commented: “Choosing the right route corridor between Bramford substation and Twinstead Tee is a very important decision, and we are continuing to work hard to ensure that all views, including those of local people and wide range of organisations, are taken into account.

“The rewiring of the existing 400kV line forms part of our ongoing programme of network reinforcement work in East Anglia and is not linked to the Bramford to Twinstead Tee Connection Project.”

The company said any work would not have an impact on household electricity supplies.