Highly-controversial proposals which could see pylons towering over the Broads are to be the subject of a key ‘summit’ meeting in Norfolk.

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Convened by South Norfolk Council and the Broads Authority, next month’s meeting will see council leaders come face to face with the officials whose plans could see pylons snaking across parts of the Waveney and Yare Valleys.

The National Grid has said a 40km power line from Lowestoft to Norwich will be needed to connect the giant East Anglia One wind farm, under construction about 43km off the Suffolk coast, to the national network. While detailed routes have yet to be unveiled, it is feared that both the Waveney and Yare valleys could be affected and that the cables could be carried by ugly pylons.

That led the EDP launching its Say No To Pylons campaign in November, which has been supported by hundreds of our readers.

Critics have demanded that if the scheme does go ahead, cables must be buried beneath ground, so as not to spoil the beauty of the Norfolk and Suffolk countryside.

And, at a meeting at South Norfolk Council’s headquarters in Long Stratton on Monday, February 4, representatives from the National Grid and East Anglia One, will be quizzed by officers over the plans – and told about the strength of feeling the EDP’s campaign has shown is out there.

John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, said: “The purpose of the meeting is to understand how the public consultation is going to be run and to make sure that they understand the real issues which people have, as has been highlighted through the EDP’s campaign.”

And he said his council would organise and hold a public meeting when the consultation on the proposed route of the cables begins in earnest.

He added: “I’m hoping that public meeting will coincide with the start of the consultation. I don’t know when that will be yet, but that way we can minimise confusion and misunderstandings by providing a forum for the real issues to be discussed.

“That way the public will get the chance to make clear what they feel and how we need to frame our responses to the consultation.”

Conservative and Liberal Democrat members of South Norfolk Council have already unanimously backed a motion stating they would not support any-thing other than under-ground cables unless it was demonstrated that another solution was “environ-mentally sound and sustainable”.

National Grid bosses have said options will be revealed this year, possibly in the summer, while promoters of the North Sea offshore wind farm which would feed the line say the cables will provide enough renewable energy to power up to five million homes.

Last week, the minister for planning hit out at “ugly pylons” which people would not want to see “march across the landscape” after hearing how the structures could be built across the Norfolk Broads.

Nick Boles explained he could not explicitly back the EDP’s campaign, because to do so would go against the principle of local decision making, which he supported. But he did say: “What I can do is remind you and your readers that the National Planning Policy Framework which sets national policy, is extremely clear about what is and isn’t, firstly, acceptable on environmental impact.

“Secondly [it sets out] what are protected areas; and there are different degrees of [protection] and the broads probably sits in a number of those depending on which bit of the broads you are talking about, but those protections are very firm.”

Meanwhile former Poet Laureate and ex-University of East Anglia professor of creative writing Sir Andrew Motion recently criticised the rise of pylons.

Now president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Sir Andrew said he feared coalition proposals to relax planning rules meant: “We will be left with a countryside so fragmented that it will be impossible to find a view unimpeded by pylons or warehouses.”

You can lend your support to the campaign by visiting www.edp24.co.uk/news/say-no-to-pylons

COMMENT – Page 24

dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

5 comments

  • The cost of under grounding is more expensive. However looking at the scale of what is envisaged in the 'Gone Green' scenario (forward planning by National Grid) The cost is only a tiny fraction of the overall outlay. The group who stood up to underground the cables in the Stour valley have won. We should do the same. All these cost are to land on our electricity bills. One reason for improvements in the National Grid is to reduce costs (which they will) Thus the cost of technical development of HVDC lines will also bring down the real cost of under grounding.

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    Nick

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

  • Underground cables are far too expensive in the current recession. We can't afford to do it but we need renewable sources of power so let's just get on with the pylons and put environ-mental issues to one side until the country is back on it's feet.

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    blue tractor

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

  • Perhaps a degree of forward thinking as to where the wind farm was to be built, and its subsequent power lines, wouldn't have gone amiss.

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    peter waller

    Monday, January 14, 2013

  • I think the EDP is referring to the 'East Anglia Zone' rather than 'East Anglia One' The cable routing for the latter is in the final stages of planning with 37 Km of under grounding from Bawdsey to Bramford. (Fought for locally by people in the stour valley) However National Grid has been VERY quiet on the possible routing options for 2 HVDC cables which could cross Broadland by 2020. Details of the reinforcements to the AC line between lowestoft and Diss are also unclear to the general public so this meeting needs to bring up the point about lack of transparency. Or is this more about a contractual argument as to who would bare the cost for under grounding Vantanfall or NG?

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    Nick

    Monday, January 14, 2013

  • After the energy ministers comments today, reiterating that current wind power contracts were 'too favourable', the conference should demand that companies pay more for the infrastructure they need to make profits from us, whether its via the subsidies for wind power or the energy bills, to rise by £30 each year, due to these past contracts, according to the minister. So our party politicians failed to enact a EU law sensibly, according to it any community or person can produce non fossile fuel energy and has to be remunerated for it by energy companies and the net. Not the taxpayer paying private owners a subsidy, enabling or paying for the benefactors infrastructure, as well as profits.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, January 14, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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