Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Councillors raised concerns over whether central government has considered all possible options thoroughly

AN Essex council has responded to National Grid’s non-statutory public consultation on its proposed Norwich to Tilbury pylon route connecting off-shore wind generation to the national power network reports the Local Democracy Reporter.

The 112-mile stretch across East Anglia forms part of the National Grid’s ‘Great Grid Upgrade’ – the largest overhaul of the UK’s energy infrastructure for generations.

A committee meeting last week (August 3) saw Braintree District Council discuss the consultation, which aims to outline the exact placement of electricity pylons along the proposed route, and formulate a response reflecting the council’s joint stance.

In Braintree, the powerlines will form a 12-mile stretch through Fairstead, Cressing and Black Notley.

In a published email correspondence with The National Grid, Councillor Gabrielle Spray (Con., The Colnes) surmised that overhead powerlines and on-shore pylon networks would also negatively impact tourism in the area, as well as interfere with existing development pressure.

Chairing the meeting, Cllr Spray said that both the planned number of pylons and The National Grid’s oversight with regards to under-sea power line options and their projected costs are causes of worry.

She said: “We have serious concerns about the whole project and its impact on the landscape, in particular the number of pylons which are proposed.

“The National Grid hasn’t produced sufficient evidence to suggest that (under-sea options) are too expensive.

“We know these schemes need to happen, but it’s the method which is causing a lot of consternation.”

On August 4, Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps welcomed a report from Nick Winser, the UK’s Electricity Networks Commissioner.

Winser’s recommendations set out in the report will be adopted as part of the Great Grid Upgrade, and announced as supporting evidence included in the scheme’s masterplan by Shapps later this year.

Since 2010, the government has increased its investments into renewable energy by 500 per cent. Although a move towards clean and sustainable energy has been underway for years, Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has additionally been blamed for driving up the need for non-renewable energy sources such as North Sea oil and gas.

In anticipation of receiving Winser’s report, Grant Shapps said: “The UK is leading the world on renewable energy and decarbonising faster than any other country in the G7. We must ensure we are taking full advantage of our success and getting the increased supply of homegrown, clean energy that we have at our fingertips to people’s homes and businesses for years to come.

“This is another important step as we continue to reform our energy system to drive down bills, grow the economy and ensure tyrants like Putin can never again use energy as a weapon of war.”


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