Pylon campaign is switched on

Furious residents are determined to fight plans to build a set of new pylons across the south Suffolk countryside.

SUFFOLK: Furious residents are determined to fight plans to build a set of new pylons across the south Suffolk countryside.

Campaign groups representing several villages that could be affected by National Grid's plans have already been established and representatives are preparing for a string of consultation events on the plans that start later this month.

The pylons would cover about 30km between Bramford, near Ipswich, and Twinstead, near Sudbury, and would help to meet growing demand in the south of England and conduct energy generated along the Suffolk coast in the future.

But campaigners have called on the energy giant to think again about its pylon plans and bury the cables underground instead.

Many villages have already held community meetings to discuss the possible impact of the pylons - which could take one of four different route options - and several action groups are being formed.

The latest of these is Stour Valley Underground (SVU), which comprises residents from several villages.

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A spokesman said: “The people of the valley, through SVU, vehemently oppose this and present a compelling argument that all of the power lines, both proposed and existing, should be put underground.

“SVU has already amassed a great deal of evidence to support this contention.

“Indeed SVU seeks to ensure that the people can see through what it considers to be misinformation and red herrings that divert attention from the real issues.”

National Grid says that undergrounding the cables would be far more expensive and disruptive than erecting the new pylons, which could follow any one of four possible route corridors.

A spokesman for the firm said it considered every case for undergrounding a power line “on its merits” but the cost could work out as being 12 to 17 times as expensive as installing new pylons.

She said: “We have a statutory duty to develop and maintain an efficient and economical system.

“Undergrounding can also have significant effects in terms of loss of landscape features, sterilising land assets and disturbance during construction.”

Pylon proposals will be discussed at a number of public events taking place across south Suffolk and north Essex in the coming weeks. Dates, times and locations of meetings (times 12 noon-9pm unless stated):

Tues Oct 27 Hadleigh Town Hall

Sat Nov 7 Hadleigh Town Hall

Mon Nov 9 Whatfield Village Hall 2pm-9pm

Tues Nov 17 Hadleigh Town Hall

Thurs Dec 3 Hintlesham village Hall

Fri Dec 11 Somersham Village Hall

Sat Dec 12 Burstall Village Hall

Tues Jan 5 Wickham St Paul Village Hall