Statement on East Anglia Green project
Cllr Lesley Wagland OBE, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Renewal, Infrastructure and Planning, said: “Essex County Council intends to object in the strongest possible terms to the proposals being put forward in the non-statutory consultation in respect of National Grid’s East Anglia Green project.
“The County Council, along with residents, districts and parishes have only had a very short time to respond to the proposed scheme and have had very little engagement prior to May 2022 on the proposals.
“We have clearly expressed our ambition to be net zero by 2050 and the production of power from windfarms is a critical part of this, however, we have serious concerns not only about the route, but also how carbon heavy the proposed scheme of overhead pylons is.
“We are of the view that there has been insufficient consideration of alternative approaches which would allow for the required infrastructure but without the sheer scale of the damage to the environment, landscape and the difficulties of this project going ahead, all at the same time as multiple large-scale infrastructure projects which have the potential to cause major disruption across the East of England.
“We believe that new offshore generated electricity should be transmitted offshore, which is why we need an offshore grid. This is firmly in the interests of business - both offshore windfarms themselves and wider interests e.g. our Freeports - and would help to futureproof the network. Such an alternative approach could avoid all the physical constraints of an above or below-ground solution, retain ease of access for ongoing maintenance and provide a more direct point of connection for any current or future off-shore wind farms. This is a much better option and one which would be more likely to receive support from ourselves and residents.
“We are working with the leaders of the city, district and borough councils through forums such as the Essex Leader and Chief Execs forum to share our concerns so that we respond with one voice and align ourselves with our colleagues in Norfolk and Suffolk. We will also be asking to meet with National Grid to discuss our concerns directly.”
Cllr Peter Schwier, Essex County Council’s Climate Czar, added: “We welcome plans for renewable wind farms off the East Anglian coast, however, we are completely opposed to the transmission of the power generated via the proposed 50m high voltage pylons. These would be in the sky for generations to come and have a long-term negative impact on our wonderful Essex countryside as well as the county generally.
“This pylon infrastructure is neither wanted nor needed considering the viable option of undersea power cables. These cables could transport power to where it is needed, helping future proof energy supplies and boost energy security, without adversely impacting on residents, businesses and communities across Essex.”