Electricity pylons at Wiggenhall St Mary.

South Norfolk Councillors back campaign against giant pylons

Tuesday, December 11, 2012
9.59 AM

District councillors gave their overwhelming backing to a campaign against giant electricity pylons in Norfolk and Suffolk, amid concerns about a potential route to bring offshore energy ashore.

Members of South Norfolk Council supported a motion calling on National Grid and other relevant agencies to bury power cables connecting a new North Sea wind farm to the main grid, if a decision is made to run lines through the district.

Councillors backed the EDP’s Say No To Pylons campaign at a full council meeting last night after the possibility was raised that new overhead lines could run from Lowestoft to Norwich as part of the construction of the East Anglia One wind farm off the Suffolk coast.

National Grid officials have drawn up indicative proposals to connect the wind turbines set to be built from 2015 to the main grid, which could result in plans for pylons in the Waveney and Yare valleys.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors unanimously backed a motion resolving that South Norfolk Council “will not support any arrangement for the future transmission of strategic electrical power through the district other than by means of underground cables unless it is first demonstrated to its satisfaction that any alternative solution is both environmentally sound and sustainable.”

John Fuller, council leader, said the authority needed to be “realistic” that the cables connecting the wind farm to the main grid could end up running through South Norfolk. “We know what we like about the Norfolk countryside and the fantastic contribution it makes to the environment and the economy.

“It is a very important issue in getting offshore electricity onshore. We must be on our metal and have a good understanding of all the issues. It seems to me that this council should not be afraid to say we have a predisposition to say they should be buried underground and we need to make the case for them being buried,” he said.

Councillors pledged to work closely with the Broads Authority to oppose any pylons in the Broads and Waveney Valley and will write to National Grid and any other relevant agencies setting out their position on the matter.

Martin Wilby, South Norfolk Council deputy leader, added that the district council had an important role to play to ensure that all residents and parish and town councils are listened to as National Grid officials develop their proposals. Plans for a new 25-mile cable line running from Lowestoft to Norwich are at an early stage and National Grid is set to publish more detailed route options in 2013, which would be followed by a full public consultation. Promoters of the North Sea offshore wind farm say the development will provide enough renewable energy to power up to five million homes. More than 150 people attended a meeting in Wortwell last year where people raised their concerns about a potential pylon route running through the Waveney Valley.