The Parish Council is working with others Councils to raise objections to the National Grid proposals that will cross our parish.
Response to informal consultation 2.
Great Waltham Parish Council (GWPC) fully supports the installation of North Sea wind farms to generate abundant clean electricity and has considered the National Grid (NG) proposals for East Anglia in the context of the Holford Rules. However, GWPC does not support, and objects strongly to, the proposal for 180km of 50m high pylons to carry electricity from the offshore windfarms and other sources from Norwich to Tilbury. In the opinion of GWPC, the pylon structures cannot be adequately screened or masked and therefore would have an irreparable and adverse visual and landscape impact on the very flat and open East Anglian countryside. In the Chelmsford area, the pylons will be visible over a large residential area and an unacceptable level of amenity loss and planning harm will be caused. The latest 2023 proposal for the Great Waltham area has not changed significantly since the first consultation in 2022; it will still cause harm to the heritage assets of Langley Park, the Great Waltham Conservation Area and the high proportion of listed buildings of historic value.
Although NG proposes to reduce the height of the pylons in the vicinity of the gap between the Great and Little Waltham conservation areas, this will be insufficient to prevent the pylons from completely dominating the character of Great Waltham Village Conservation Area, the grade 1 Listed Building of Langleys and Langleys Registered Park and Gardens, which are of Special Historic Interest. The character of the Park is pastoral, with meadowland and scattered trees, and it is crossed by a number of public footpaths. The installation of modern steel pylons along the eastern edge of the Park as a backdrop to the House and Gardens would have an enormously detrimental impact.
The line of pylons will also dominate Larks Lane, which is a protected lane between Great Waltham and Broads Green.
National Grid have stated that the project is at an early stage of development and the Electricity Systems Operator (ESO) has announced that it will launch a ‘Study’ to assess objectively the options for Norwich to Tilbury and other proposed network reinforcements across East Anglia. It is anticipated that this Study will consider the costs and deliverability of the different options, which will include the offshore option.
In 2020, the HVDC Centre concluded that an integrated offshore approach would be more advantageous overall than the current approach. More recently, an initial report by the ESO indicates that an integrated approach to offshore grid connections could save consumers around £6 billion (understood to be £2 billion for the East of England). It is further understood that most of the required technology is available now, or will be, by 2030. Therefore GWPC believes the current proposal for an onshore transmission line is premature. An integrated offshore grid should be the preferred approach because it would reduce the amount of physical infrastructure required by half; with fewer cables, landing points and network assets.
In conclusion, GWPC cannot support the limited, early 20th century solution currently proposed but respectfully requests that NG ET recognise the overwhelming objections to the current proposal and, in conjunction with NG ESO, develop and deliver an integrated offshore grid solution which does not include a string of 50 metre high pylons, despoiling the East Anglian villages and countryside.
Great Waltham Parish Council is also a member of the NW AND SW of Chelmsford Parishes Group and fully supports the Group Response to the second consultation, which will be submitted separately.
Pylons Meeting on 4th July
Last Tuesday, 4th July, Mike Steel and I attended a meeting of the Northwest and Southwest Chelmsford Parishes Group about the proposed public consultation on what National Grid now refers to as The Great Grid Update Norwich to Tilbury. The meeting was attended by representatives from almost all the affected parishes.
The following information may be helpful to members:
- This second round of public consultation went live on 24th June and runs until 21st August 2023. Members of the public as well as councils can give their feedback on the proposals but the short period for consultation means that there is an urgent need to make parishioners aware of the proposal, as well as some urgency if GWPC is to respond. Feedback can be given either by completing an online form at https://norwich-tilbury.participatr.io/ . Alternatively, you can email email@example.com
- The meeting was opened with a presentation and talk by Rosie Pearson (Founder of Pylons East Anglia, who are campaigning against the pylons) who provided an update on how the latest proposals differ from the previous consultation and offered advice on responding. The Pylons East Anglia campaign’s website www.pylonseastanglia.co.uk has much useful information about the project.
- At the meeting, I acquired A5 leaflets from the East Anglia Pylons group, which could be distributed to the areas of Great Waltham most affected - ? Gt Waltham village and Broads Green. If helpful, I could drop them into the Parish Office postbox or elsewhere?
- Background to the 2023 proposals
4.1 In June, National Grid changed the name of the pylons project from ‘East Anglia Green Energy Enablement (GREEN)’ to ‘The Great Grid Upgrade Norwich to Tilbury’.
4.2 These new National Grid proposals can be viewed at :
4.3 Although there are some minimal changes to the pylon siting and/or route, there are no changes in our area and this new proposal still consists of 180km of 50m pylons marching across East Anglia to carry electricity from the offshore windfarms in the North Sea to London.
4.4 Locally, the pylons are proposed to run between Little and Great Waltham, passing closest to Broads Green - see map below - but their height means that they may well be visible in parts of Great Waltham village. Also, the proposed route is close to Conservation Areas for both GW and LW.
This map was taken from the NG interactive map at https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/ba2cbd9ac64c4723847fae8637d50df3/
4.5 National Grid has produced a Design Development document https://www.nationalgrid.com/ele…/document/149161/download detailing the NG response to route/pylon design changes from the last consultation. I have also attached a document (extract from NG Design Development document) showing the NG response for our immediate area.
4.6 NG have also published a ‘Norwich to Tilbury 2022 Non-statutory Consultation Feedback Report’ which you can read/download at https://www.nationalgrid.com/ele…/document/149166/download . This is a very long document, but the concerns raised by the Chelmsford area in the last consultation is in section 3.7 (pages 170-181).
5. Alternative Transmission Solutions
5.1 Although this proposal for consultation mainly consists of overland pylons, alternative solutions are available. In 2020, the HVDC Centre* produced a document ‘National Grid Offshore Cost Benefit Analysis’ https://www.nationalgrideso.com/document/182936/download. This project investigated options for a coordinated approach to offshore transmission network design for Great Britain and concluded that the Integrated Approach is more advantageous overall. Pylons East Anglia claim that it has a potential to save £6bn (£2bn saving for the East of England) over the current piecemeal and pylons. See diagram below.
As an engineer, I am aware of the difficulties of undersea power transmission but must presume that as this document was prepared by NG, the proposal is both possible and practical. It is the preferred option by East Anglia Pylons.
*The National HVDC Centre is part of Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission, working together with Scottish Power Transmission, National Grid Electricity Transmission, and the Electricity System Operator
- Responding to the Consultation
The feedback form is rather different from last time and has separate sections for each part of the route. Apart from basic information about the responder, each area section consists of a blank section to state your views on the project in your area. The meeting discussed ways to respond to this form in the most effective way. (See below)
- Matters discussed at the meeting:
7.1 Why the proposed solution is not the optimum solution.
7.2 The need for responders to state why the proposed route is not possible rather than suggesting that it could be moved. In the previous consultation, this only resulted in small changes to the route being proposed.
7.3 Rather than respond in detail to individual local items in the consultation document, we were advised that it may be more effective to write an overall appraisal of the project and its local effects.
7.4 The need to continue liaising with others (such as ECC and CCC)
7.5 The urgent need to raise the awareness of parishioners to this proposal, as many people are still unaware of it. See above.
7.6 At the meeting, the parishes agreed to draft a common response which stresses why the proposed route cannot be followed because of the planning harm that it will cause and state their preference for the integrated offshore grid solution.
Informal Consultation 1