Conservatives Beef-up Council opposition to Proposed Pylon Route across North Colchester


At the Council meeting on 19th July 2023, the Conservative Group tabled a motion to strengthen the Council’s resolve to defend North Colchester against the proposal by National Grid plc which will despoil the North of the area with a new pylon route

The proposed route of 50m high pylons would blight the villages of Langham, Boxted, Fordham, Great Horkesley, Little Horkesley, West Bergholt, Aldham, Marks Tey and beyond. Where it cuts across the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the cables would go underground in a trench 100m wide that would be completely cleared and left desolate in perpetuity.

Proposing the motion, Cllr Darius Laws (Rural North Ward) said; ”National Grid plc are seeking to transport electricity across East Anglia via pylons which would have a dramatic impact on our residents, especially those living in the villages of North Colchester.

These landscapes aren't accidental, particularly in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where it has been preserved by the management committee, volunteers, Parish Councils and The Dedham Society.

Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex have some of the most beautiful landscapes in the UK, immortalised by painters such as John Constable RA, as such these 50 metre high pylons are incompatible with these landscapes and challenge our revered ‘big skies’.

Further negative consequences during the construction of these pylons could include damage to various habitats of wildlife including: trees, biodiversity, plant-life as well as also negatively impacting on regional tourist attractions and archaeology.

Therefore I propose to Council:

  • Robust representations should be made, during and outside of consultation periods, to the Government decision-makers to oppose new pylons blighting our beautiful countryside.
  • Collaborative working with other local authorities and MPs should take place to support calls for an offshore grid, including for the North Falls and Five Estuaries wind farms; in order to speed up delivery of green energy, cut its cost and protect the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and surrounding countryside.

North Essex and East Anglia shouldn't suffer so that energy can be transferred to London and I'm pleased all councillors unanimously agreed to fight these flawed pylon plans from National Grid plc."

Cllr Dennis Willetts (Lexden and Braiswick Ward) supporting the motion, added: “Recent publication of the detailed pylon sites proposed by Nation Grid plc reinforced the horrors of this development to residents across the North of Colchester.

For instance, over the proposed 180km route, the majority of the listed buildings within 500m of a proposed pylon are to be found in just one village: Aldham.  Yet with the insidious way National Grid plc carries out its consultation events, it is no surprise that the nearest consultation to Aldham was in Witham, some 12 miles away with no easy public transport connection, as was the case in many other villages.

Sensible-thinking people surely agree that the villages most affected in North Colchester all deserve their own consultation event in view the extensive bight to be inflicted on their communities."

Cllr William Sunnucks (Rural North Ward) explained the financial issues to Council: “If the industry is remotely interested in delivering net zero on time it will explore the offshore option with vigour. It won’t cost much more and it will avoid years of legal challenge and wasteful controversy.”