Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils have come together to express their collective concerns with National Grid’s proposed “Norwich to Tilbury” pylon project.

In a joint letter to National Grid, the leaders of the three councils address the extensive impact on landscapes and local communities that the scheme would bring.

They also highlight that an offshore solution has not been sufficiently investigated, and the opportunities that this could bring to co-ordinate with other large-scale energy projects off the region’s coast.

The Norwich to Tilbury project would see 114 miles of electricity pylons weave their way through the three counties.

Only a small percentage of this cabling would go underground, an issue which the councils also raise, stating that more would be needed particularly in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and near Diss and the Waveney Valley.

Councillor Kevin Bentley, leader of Essex County Council, said: ”We have taken to writing at this time, as there is still the opportunity to explore all options and solutions for a development of this scale.

“We all support the collective effort to tackle climate change, work towards net zero and to create a secure future for the country’s energy. But there are so many elements of this proposal which just do not go far enough.”

Councillor Kay Mason Billig, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “The impact that 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.”

Councillor Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “Should proposals for the project progress, and further consultations take place, we would expect National Grid to invest a lot more time and effort in working with our local communities.

“These large schemes can be guilty of doing the minimum necessary when they should be working with local people and businesses as much as possible, who know the area and can help find the best solutions, should the project go ahead.”

National Grid held a second, non-statutory consultation, which closed on August 21, 2023.

It is expected that a statutory consultation will take place in 2024.

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