The significant increase in energy generated within and off the coast of Suffolk brings with it the challenge of upgrading the transmission network.
This is complex and demanding and will require careful balancing of wider public benefit against the needs of local people and landscapes.
Norwich to Tilbury:
Proposals for an additional 400kW pylon line that will run North/South through the county connecting Norwich to Tilbury were announced in April 2022.
The first non statutory consultation was in 16 June 2022. SPS wrote to the Rt Hon Greg Hands and to National Grid regarding the inadequate information available for a meaningful consultation. We also set out our thoughts via our monthly column in the East Anglian Daily Times.
A second non statutory consultation is took place in August 2023 which has refined the proposed pylon route.
Bramford to Twinstead upgrade:
The proposed upgrade of Bramford to Twinstead will involve upgrading of the pylon line through sensitive landscapes including the Dedham Vale AONB as well as the undesignated “Project Area” for which there is a long term aspiration for its landscape quality to be recognised as part of the AONB.
The project involves removing the existing smaller 132kV lines and replacing with a larger 400kV line. Most of the stretch will be overground via a line of larger pylons but two small sections are proposed to be underground with 80m X 50m sealing end compounds in the countryside at the ends of each underground section.
The route runs through some of Essex and Suffolk’s most beautiful countryside including the Dedham Vale AONB and the Stour Valley. SPS responded on how National Grid’s proposals will impact Suffolk.
SPS responded to the preliminary public consultation in May 2021 and the statutory consultation in March 2022. We called for more of the line to be placed underground to protect the sensitive landscapes in and around the AONB including the Stour Valley project area which shares many of the special landscape qualities of the AONB itself. We also highlighted the damaging impacts that the sealing end compounds – significant infrastructure required at each end of the underground stretches – will have on the landscape around them. These needed to be far more carefully sited. In addition we called for greater consideration and assessment of the impact of the new pylon line on the numerous listed farmhouses and other listed buildings along the entire route including grade I listed Hintlesham Hall.