With a new review agreed and about to get underway, it is an appropriate time to provide an update to constituents about the East Anglia GREEN project.
East Anglia GREEN is a proposal put forward by National Grid to reinforce the high voltage power network in East Anglia between the existing substations at Norwich Main in Norfolk, Bramford in Suffolk and Tilbury in Essex. The project also aims to connect new offshore wind generation. The reinforcement would comprise mostly overhead line, including pylons and conductors, and underground cabling through the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and a new 400 kV connection substation in the Tendring district.
Understandably, there has been significant opposition to the proposals. During the public consultation, residents have raised key concerns about the impact of these pylons on the landscape, the proximity of them to their homes and the effect they will have on operations at the Wattisham Air Base. Residents also feel that National Grid have not thoroughly considered all the alternative options. A review of the plans was called for as a matter of urgency.
I share all the concerns of local residents and I’m particularly worried about the impact on the Air Base. I am part of a group with neighbouring MPs, all worried for constituents, called Offset. We have been pushing for alternative non-pylon transmission options, primarily an offshore connector option. National Grid previously estimated the costings of this and released information indicating that it would be significantly more expensive than the pylon option. However, we at Offset raised objections to these costings, and have been arguing that the longer-term viability of the offshore connector option as well as the protection of the natural landscape it would endow, are worth it.
Offset has held numerous meetings with representatives from National Grid and from the Government, including recent meetings with Minister Graham Stuart, to make the case that National Grid need to go much further in properly evaluating non-pylon transmission options. I am very pleased to say that we have been listened to; National Grid has now agreed to undertake an independent, comprehensive analysis benchmarking various transmission options against a number of criteria including long term viability and cost.
This review should be completed by late summer, and while there is not a public consultation as part of the analysis, there is set to be a statutory consultation following the review's conclusion. This is likely to be late 2023 or early 2024. If they wish, I urge constituents to write to me expressing specific concerns around EA GREEN, and we can pass them on to the National Grid. (Please use the contact information form/email address on this website).
With Offset, I will continue to campaign against these proposals on behalf of everyone in our constituency and I will continue to provide these updates.