Major 400kV power line planned to cross swathes of Essex countryside

RESIDENTS across Essex are being asked for their views on plans to build a new 400kV power line to transfer electricity across the countryside.

National Grid says the reinforcement is needed to carry more renewable and low carbon power from offshore wind and interconnectors, as well as new proposed nuclear generation at Sizewell C.

The new reinforcement is expected to be around 180 km long. It will mostly consist of overhead transmission lines and new 45 to 50-metre tall steel lattice pylons except for where it runs underground through the area of outstanding natural beauty of Dedham Vale.

The 180-mile route starts at a new substation planned in Bramford in Suffolk crossing south easterly until it crosses the border into the Colchester district briefly, running past Dedham, Langham and crossing the A12.

The route then moves into the Tendring district turning eastwards into Tendring Peninsula to connect into the site of the East Anglia Connection substation (EAC). The power line route then moves out of the new substation site heading west, crossing back over the A12 to continue the route running past West Bergholt and Marks Tey to the south.

After crossing into the Braintree district, it continues south west parallel to the north of the A12 and railway. Passing Witham to the south and Silver End to the north before crossing the railway again heading north and continuing west towards the Chelmsford district.

It then travels around the north of Chelmsford and heads south on the western side, to the west of Writtle.

It then continues south passing Margaretting and crossing over the A12 on the Brentwood district to the west of Ingatestone border. Early plans have the line passing close to Ingatestone, home of Lord Petre who also is a major landowner of the area.

He said: “The width of what is under consideration doesn’t enable one to comment in detail at all. It could be here or it could be 400 yards way which makes a lot of difference and also there is no indication of where the actual pylons will go.

“Until they say this there is nothing one can say. There could be literally beyond the garden wall at Ingatesone Hall a large pylon but we won’t know that for months.

“The only thing is when you have a grade 1 listed property that affects not just the building itsself but to a certain and this a matter of judgement the environs as well. Of course I don’t welcome it but I do realise I am a voice crying in the wilderness.”

Passing Ingatestone on the west the route crosses the A12 and the railway in the north of the Brentwood district. The route then travels directly south crossing multiple times between the Basildon and Brentwood districts. Passing Hutton on the west and Billericay on the east. Continuing to then cross the A127 and railway on the border of the Thurrock district. We expect the reinforcement in this section to be made up of new overhead line supported by steel lattice pylons.

The preferred corridor continues travelling south passing Bulphan on the west and then Hornden on the Hill on the east. The route crosses the A13 and heads towards Linford and East Tilbury where the corridor then splits around. At this point we are considering which route would be most appropriate here. We expect the reinforcement in this section to be made up of new overhead line supported by steel lattice pylons. We would need to carry out some work at Tilbury substation to connect the new line. We expect the work to be contained within the existing boundary of the substation.

National Grid says that while the network in East Anglia can accommodate the level of generation and demand that there is today, this situation will change over the next decade. It expects its new 180 km long connection between Suffolk and Tilbury to be completed by 2030.

National Grid has now opened a consultation which will run until Thursday June 16. There will be another opportunity to comment on the proposals before National Grid submits their plans to the Planning Inspectorate in late 2024.

The project is classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project which means consent will rest with The Secretary of State.

A statement from National Grid said that while existing network in East Anglia currently carries around 3,200 megawatts (MW) of electricity generation over the next decade it expects more than 15,000 MW of new generation and 4,500 MW of new interconnection to connect in the region which its existing power lines do not have sufficient capacity to accommodate it.

Liam Walker, Project Director for East Anglia GREEN said: “This reinforcement between Norwich and Tilbury is essential to carry more clean energy to homes and businesses across the UK, and to help the country reach net zero by 2050. We hope local residents will be able to join us and hear more about what we are proposing and give us their feedback on our plans.”

Members of the public will be able to take part in the consultation and speak with National Grid’s team by attending consultation events, online webinars, booking a slot at an ‘ask the experts’ session or by visiting the project website.

Sessions are being held at the following venues.

Saturday May 7 10am to 4pm West Bergholt Orpen Memorial Hall.

Saturday May 21 1 to 6pm Laindon Community Centre.

Monday May 9 12 to 7pm Chadwell Village Hall, Chadwell St Mary.

Tuesday May 24 11am to 5.30pm Writtle Village Hall.

Wednesday May 11 1 to 6:30pm Mulbarton Village Hall.

Friday May 27 1 to 7pm Needham Market Community Centre.

Saturday May 14 10am to 4pm The Palgrave and District Community Centre.

Saturday May 28 10am to 4pm Lawford Venture Centre.

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