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

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Nick Boles was speaking to the Eastern Daily Press, which launched its Say No To Pylons campaign last year, when he made the comments.

National Grid officials have drawn up indicative proposals to connect North Sea wind turbines to the main grid, which would see pylons in the Waveney and Yare valleys.

Mr Boles explained that he could not explicitly back the EDP’s campaign because to do so would go against the principle of local decision making which he supports.

However, he went on: “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.”

Conservative and Liberal Democrat members of South Norfolk Council have already unanimously backed a motion stating they would not support anything other than underground cables unless it was demonstrated that another solution was “environmentally sound and sustainable”.

Mr Boles continued: “It’s for local councils to decide but the [NPPF} policies are very clear. A major impact on Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a National Park or anything like that, is not something that policy supports.

“Speaking as a punter I suspect most of us would prefer ugly pylons to be buried rather than march across the landscape.”

Councillors have pledged to work closely with the Broads Authority to oppose pylons in the Broads and Waveney Valley and have said they would write to National Grid and any other agencies setting out their position.

Meanwhile Mr Boles’ comments come just days after the president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England said the coalition was failing to protect the countryside by relaxing planning rules.

In a magazine article Sir Andrew Motion said the government was allowing inappropriate roads and hundreds of pylons to be built across rural England.

He said: “The environment is foremost in people’s minds, not just because disasters like the recent flooding and ash dieback disease increase our consciousness of what is at risk, but because we’re hearing government pronouncements that betray a wider pattern of neglect for the landscape.”

He went on: “We are seeing the coalition contradicting David Cameron’s ambition to lead the greenest government ever.

“In a short space of time they have put at risk all kinds of things that have been time-honoured, our spiritual connection to woodland and wilderness.”

Plans for the 25m cable line running from Lowestoft to Norwich are at an early stage with National Grid set to publish more detailed route options this year, followed by a full public consultation.

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.

13 comments

  • “Speaking as a punter I suspect most of us would prefer ugly pylons to be buried rather than march across the landscape.” Why would anyone want to bury pylons?

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    Thoreauwasright

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • I mean it's cheaper to send out 100's of guys to chop tree branches, check overhead cables by helicopter or cherry picker, shut businesses down for hours or days, than to bury the cables and knock all that other squit on the head, but for how long, there will come a point (long past) where it would of been cheaper to bury them from the start. If you factor in all the lost revenue for those affected too, it is millions cheaper to bury the cables.

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    Jason Bunn

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • In the next few years we are looking at the possibility of two 2GW HVDC cables coming ashore on the coast of Norfolk as part of the 'North Ses Supergrid'. This is where local pressure needs to be focused to ensure these are placed underground. It makes good sense to have these strategic infrastructure plans, but it will be up to us to enforce local wishes or the cheaper pylon option will inevitably be taken.

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    Nick

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Could it be the reason they refuse to go underground is that it would interfere with future fracking plans?

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • “Speaking as a punter I suspect most of us would prefer ugly pylons to be buried rather than march across the landscape.” Why would anyone want to bury pylons?

    Report this comment

    Thoreauwasright

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • In the next few years we are looking at the possibility of two 2GW HVDC cables coming ashore on the coast of Norfolk as part of the 'North Ses Supergrid'. This is where local pressure needs to be focused to ensure these are placed underground. It makes good sense to have these strategic infrastructure plans, but it will be up to us to enforce local wishes or the cheaper pylon option will inevitably be taken.

    Report this comment

    Nick

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • It is the cheaper option to have pylons. Cheap means higher profits. The pylons will be built as history has shown that money always comes first in this country

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Quite so norman hall, but a successful populist (politician) has to be seen to be pandying to the whims of their electors (the nimbys).

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    Police Commissioner ???

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • You don't bury pylons, you bury the cables and avoid using pylons. Should of been done like that from the start, aesthetics aside which is obvious the cost to maintain not just pylon cables but all electric supply cables interweaved amongst tree's, the down time to businesses and homes which the compensation for is minimal when the slightest wind or rain knocks power out for hours or days, is what it is all about, it is cheaper to do the wrong thing than to do the right thing, no skin off EDF's nose when my business is down due to yet another power cut as there was a breeze blowing a branch onto a power line but if they had to pay the real cost of that they would soon bury all electric power supplies for reliability. To be honest the amount of power cuts we suffer does my head in, it isn't like we live in a land of earthquakes either but it is a windy land so the best place for power cables is underground, get on with it, bit like BT with their lack of development too, they're all the same, putting profits before development and before what all their clients deserve.

    Report this comment

    Jason Bunn

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Turbines are damned ugly, solar farms are damned ugly, but that's hasn't stopped them being installed, has it?

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    John L Norton

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • I'm with you Nick, the stray HV radiation is best dug under, shielded by the surrounding earth from doing any harm.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • John L Norton

    Friday, January 11, 2013

  • Thoreauwasright

    Friday, January 11, 2013

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

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