Campaigners are calling for historic rural landscapes to be protected from the “unnecessary metal monstrosities” of new electricity pylons. Plans would see National Grid erect 164ft pylons on 112 miles of East Anglia to transport green energy but more than 23,000 people signed a petition urging bosses to instead build an offshore grid, and avoid crisscrossing the land with cables.
Rosie Pearson of Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk Pylons campaign group said: “East Anglia’s landscapes are full of churches, castles and country houses with wonderful gardens which should be treasured. It is outrageous that the Government’s latest energy policy consultation seeks to prioritise the delivery of offshore wind and associated onshore infrastructure.”
Members urged ministers to save the views, using a strategic approach to transmission planning and replacing a “piecemeal” outlook by the energy giant and regulator Ofgem.
Instead of pylons, they want an offshore “ring main” that would be connected to new nuclear power stations and wind turbines.
Luke Wormald, East region head at government conservation agency Historic England, said: “We expect to be involved in any future planning applications for the East Anglia Green scheme. Public consultation is designed to understand the key issues and capture how people feel.”
National Grid last year wrote to 52,000 households on the routes and it hopes to share intended pylon sites later this year. The project would finish by the end of 2030.
Its spokesman said: “We are carefully considering the feedback we’ve received from communities.
“The East Anglia Green project is one of the essential network upgrades needed to deliver on the UK’s net zero target.”
Other activists oppose more pylons in the Scottish Highlands.
Energy giant SSEN plans a 100-mile network from Spittal in Caithness to Beauly near Inverness to transmit renewable energy generated there to more populated areas of central Scotland and England.
But the Strathpeffer and Contin Better Cable Route Group wants a third party to work with the business and local residents to find a less disruptive solution.
”A lot of heritage is going to be spoiled”
Charlotte Banks says that her historic home where the view has not changed in hundreds of years may be “zoomed into this century” due to pylons.
The interior designer warned that the structures may impact three sides of her listed home in Suffolk. The 13-acre site was given to Anne of Cleves by Henry VIII in their divorce.
Charlotte, 60, said: “This listed, historic building has listed views which are going to be zoomed into this century because of pylons. The views have not changed for 300 years.” She added that eight listed homes in her village may be affected by the plans that are being considered by National Grid chiefs.
Charlotte has lived in her Grade II-listed home for 20 years. She warned that there would be “many more” historic sites impacted along the 112 miles of potential new pylons across East Anglia.
She went on: “A lot of heritage is going to be spoiled. We are caretakers for the rest of England and its history. If you start sticking pylons in their paths no one can buy them and no one can then upkeep them so they disappear.”