Three of East Anglia's biggest councils have united to send a message to power bosses over the miles of pylons proposed to be built across swathes of the region's countryside.

Leaders of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex county councils have written a joint letter to National Grid urging a rethink over the Norwich to Tilbury power line project.

They say the towering structures would have an "extensive impact" on countryside and communities - and that not enough has been done to explore alternative options, such as putting the cables offshore, under the sea.


The letter comes as National Grid is consulting over its plans for a 112-mile line of 50-metre high pylons, from Dunston, near Norwich, to Tilbury on the Thames estuary.

Eastern Daily Press: Campaigners are fighting to stop the pylonsCampaigners are fighting to stop the pylons (Image: Simon Parkin)

The plans have sparked widespread controversy, with criticism from campaign groups, MPs and other councils.

In the letter, council leaders Kay Mason Billig (Norfolk County Council), Matthew Hicks (Suffolk County Council) and Kevin Bentley (Essex County Council) said: "It is considered that National Grid have so far failed to demonstrate that alternative offshore cabling would not be a preferable option.

"Indeed, it is considered that improved offshore coordination between other energy projects would provide further opportunities for alternative solutions."

They said cables should go underground in "sensitive areas", including around Diss and the Waveney Valley.

Eastern Daily Press: Diss MereDiss Mere (Image: ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434)

And they said, if the project does go ahead, the councils would "be seeking an appropriate
community benefits package".

READ MORE: Norfolk County Council opposes Norwich to Tilbury pylons

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk County Council leader Kay Mason BilligNorfolk County Council leader Kay Mason Billig (Image: Norfolk County Council)

Mrs Mason Billig said: "The impact this scheme would have should not be underestimated, particularly on the region’s unique, designated landscapes and the many communities that will be affected.

"We all agree that studies into an offshore solution have not been appropriately explored, this is a viable option which we feel has been dismissed too readily."

National Grid has said the scheme is needed to increase supply as demand increases.

It had said an offshore grid would be costlier to energy bill-payers and have less capacity than an overhead route.