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Roydon residents voice their opposition to East Anglia GREEN project



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Furious residents and councillors packed out Roydon Village Hall this week to voice their opposition to proposals for huge new electricity pylons and cables stretching across East Anglia.

National Grid is currently holding a consultation on its ‘East Anglia GREEN’ project, which it says is needed to help the UK achieve its ambition of net zero emissions by 2050 – and because the current infrastructure is not fit for purpose.

The plan will see 50-metre-high pylons built along the A140, running between Bressingham and Roydon, towards its destination at Tilbury, on the Thames estuary.

Plans are in place to erect pylons across East Anglia. Pic: Vikki Lince.
Plans are in place to erect pylons across East Anglia. Pic: Vikki Lince.

On Wednesday, Roydon Parish Council held its own public meeting, where attendants slammed the “breathtaking arrogance” of National Grid’s consultation process.

Norfolk county councillor Keith Kiddie and South Norfolk district councillor Graham Minshull spoke in no uncertain terms of their opposition to the plans; the latter telling the packed village hall that he had referred the issue to South Norfolk’s scrutiny committee.

“We only learned of this in February last year and we were very concerned when we found out about it,” said Cllr Minshull.

“I don’t think either of us were convinced by their argument. We understand the need for energy but riding roughshod over people’s views is not the way to do it.”

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Kiddie, who derided the misspelling of Shelfanger in a map provided to residents.

“I’m implacably opposed to what’s been presented and the way it’s been done,” said Cllr Kiddie.

“The breathtaking arrogance of these people – they produce a map and they can’t even spell Shelfanger.”

Much of the discussion surrounded the possibility scrapping the plans, opting for undersea cabling instead.

Cllr Kiddie added: “I’ve been in consultation with Richard Bacon, and, rest assured, we are utterly upset by the way this is being done.”

He added: “They have set it up like ‘this is what you’re going to get’, well, this is not what we’re going to get.”

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon promised he would be rallying the Government behind offSet's proposals for an offshore grid. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2021.
South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon promised he would be rallying the Government behind offSet's proposals for an offshore grid. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2021.

Mr Bacon, a South Norfolk MP of over 20 years, was not present at Wednesday’s event. In a statement from read out by parish councillor Jane Jennifer, he said: "I am particularly disappointed that the scope of the supposed 'consultation' set out by National Grid is so limited.

"National Grid appears to have decided in advance without any explanation that the new pylons should run overground; in effect, they have 'pre-cooked' the consultation process by limiting the options in advance, despite the fact that there exists a viable undersea cable route from the offshore wind farms into the Thames Estuary, known as Sea Link 2.

"Together with other MPs whose constituents are affected by the proposals, I have written to the energy minister Greg Hands asking for proper consideration to be given to an upgraded subsea route from the offshore turbines along the coast and into the Thames estuary.

"Together with my parliamentary colleagues, I am hoping to meet the minister soon.

"I believe that where ever possible, new offshore-generated electricity should be transmitted offshore, making landfall as close to the target population centres as possible. I am a strong supporter of offSET, and its campaigns for an offshore grid."

Residents later took turns to voice their opposition, with suggestions that the matter be taken to a public inquiry or that protest action should be taken.

Another suggested that the Government should be lobbied to provide more funding so that more expensive alternatives could be looked at.

National Grid has distributed questionnaires to residents as part of its consultation process. One resident urged caution before filling them out, suggesting any answers may be cynically misinterpreted.

She said: “To come to a consultation and be faced with all this green washing is actually quite insulting.

“The feedback forms are very manipulative – questions such as ‘Do you believe in green energy?’. This is not green energy.

“When we do our feedback forms, we have to be careful.”

Another resident added: “This is not a consultation at all, this is a show and tell – it’s ‘we are showing you what we are going to do’.”



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