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Campaign leader for group against Norwich to Tilbury pylon project, Rosie Pearson, calls Electricity System Operator report a ‘whitewash’





A campaign leader, fighting a proposed pylon line through East Anglia, has slammed a report saying there was no easy option to carry energy from offshore wind farms into the national grid.

The Electricity System Operator (ESO) review said ‘critical trade-offs will need to be made’ in balancing the impact on communities, getting value for money and finding a scheme that is easy to deliver and scored 10 proposals for East Anglia with those criteria.

But Rosie Pearson, founder of Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons action group, who is opposing a possible National Grid project which would see a 180km string of 50-metre-high pylons between Norwich and Tilbury, said the report ‘brought more problems that it solved’.

Rosie Pearson, founder of Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons action group
Rosie Pearson, founder of Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons action group

She said: “The voluntary nature of the Government’s offshore co-ordination scheme (OCSS) resulted in a far too narrow review. For anyone in East Anglia seeking a fully offshore grid it is a whitewash.

“We see none of the cost or environmental benefits of integration that we would see from a fully co-ordinated offshore system, which would reduce the amount of infrastructure needed.”

The report did say that cables onshore were the quickest and cheapest option to get the energy across the country and that project could be delivered by 2030.

The National Grid project could see a 180km string of 50-metre-high pylons between Norwich and Tilbury in Essex.
The National Grid project could see a 180km string of 50-metre-high pylons between Norwich and Tilbury in Essex.

But it did also say that involving more cabling at sea in the project could also work to balance out the impact of the scheme.

The campaigner said: “The only good thing to come out of the review is that undergrounding using high-voltage direct current (HVDC) cables along the entire Norwich to Tilbury route instead of AC cables has scored well.

“HVDC trenching is far less damaging than than AC trenching (currently proposed in the Dedham Vale). We will be liaising with our advisers and studying this option very carefully.”

But the report was seen more favourably by Suffolk County Council.

The authority said it welcomed it as it tried to find other options to reduce the need for pylons cutting through its communities.

Cllr Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for environment and finance, said: “Greater clarity around what might be possible to remove, or markedly reduce, the impact of pylons in Suffolk is very welcome.

“It is now critical that National Grid take these findings into consideration as they continue planning their Great Grid Upgrade, which includes the Norwich to Tilbury project.”



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