Concern growns in spite of National Grid Upgrade message 'We are here to listen'

Members of the community turned out in force for a public consultation in Burgh le Marsh to find out more about what life would be like with 50 meter high pylons on the horizon.
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The Great Grid Upgrade is proposing a £1billion plan to build a new high voltage electricity transmission line ‘Grimsby to Walpole’ which, National Grid say, is essential to increase the capability of Britain’s electricity transmission network in Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, and West Norfolk.

The energy company claims the upgrade will enhance Britain’s energy security, increase offshore wind energy from 14.7 gigawatts (GW) to 50GW by 2030, help reduce energy costs for consumers and combat climate change’.

A preferred route of pylons outlined at the consultation crosses 140km of Lincolnshire countryside – passing next to Lyndhurst Garden Centre and curving around Burgh le Marsh. More expensive options include Onshore AC underground cable costing £6.5bn and Offshore HVDC subsea cable £4.4bn.

Coun Jimmy Brookes at the National Grid consultation in Burgh-le-Marsh.Coun Jimmy Brookes at the National Grid consultation in Burgh-le-Marsh.
Coun Jimmy Brookes at the National Grid consultation in Burgh-le-Marsh.

Steve Knight-Gregson, National Grid Head of External Affairs, said all of the figures stated in the strategy are lifetime costs.

However, campaigners from No Pylons Lincolnshire told us they fear the costings for overhead cables ‘are capital costs only and do not include environmental and social costs’.

In spite of the concerns, Mr Knight-Gregson’s team of men (and women) in black Great Grid Upgrade gilets at the consultation all stressed the same message: “Nothing is set in stone – we are here to listen”.

Mr Knight-Gregson said he was delighted so many people had taken time to find out more: "This is our third event – we have 11 over the consultation period over the next month or so – and we are here to listen to everyone’s views and answer questions.

"We haven’t fixed our plans yet. We are at a very early stage and we are keen to get everybody’s feedback so we can carefully consider it before we develop our detailed proposal.

"Electricity demand is set to double with more people using electric cars and further developments and we are tabling proposals that we think are the right proposals to bring forward.

"Because the cost of building infastructure like this goes onto all of our bills, government expect us to work in a framework set by government to keep costs as low as possible for consumers but also to balance that and consider communities and the environment.

"Again we are at an early stage and we haven’t fixed our plans yet.

"We will be holding a further stage of public consultation next year with more detailed proposals and give feedback from these consulations to show how they have shaped our plans.

"Ultimately we have to make a development consent order application which goes to the planning inspectorate, in 2026/early 2027.

"The planning inspectorate then hold examinations in public and that whole process is 18 months.

“Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero that will decide whether to grant consent so at the very earliest it will be 2029 before the start of construction.

"Subject to getting consent the new line would be operational by 2033.”

East Lindsey District Councillor for Burgh le Marsh Jimmy Brookes was at the consultation representing his community. He said: “I understand if the pylon proposals go ahead there will be three per km which will spoil the natural beauty of the area and the approach to the village.

"Most members of the community don’t want it – it’s fear of the unknown – and from what I’ve seen I can’t blame them.

"I will be filling out the consultation form objecting to it myself but if it does go ahead I want the most I can get for the community of Burgh le Marsh and I have already spoken to National Grid about what grants are available, whether there would be anything towards residents electricity bills.

"All of these things are going to have an impact on us and if it is coming we want more for the community.”

Campaigner Claire Williamson of No Pylons Lincolnshire (NPL) had travelled from Toynton St Peter to find out more.

She said National Grid had already informed her they wanted to view the two acres she owns around her home.

"It’s clear to me National Grid are out for profit,” she said. “We are asking National Grid to consider an integrated offshore grid as an alternative.

"I moved to Toynson St Peter for the peace, the quiet, the countryside and all the positive environmental factors that comes with.

"One of my main concerns is the pylons will emit buzzing day and night, especially at night when I like to sit out under the huge dark sky and look at the stars – all that would be lost.”

Another NPL campaigner, Andrew Malkin, took inspiration from the wrongly accused post office scandal workers and said: “Alone we are just ‘skint little people’, but recent events have shown that in a David and Goliath battle like this people power can come to the fore and the skint little people can win. Please make your opposition to pylons known while you have the chance.”

Founder NPL member Cat Makinson said: “We are incredibly busy gathering information and evidence to press for the undersea option. National Grid has opted for what it believes is the cheapest option, but it is the most environmentally-damaging .

"Our focus at the moment is to get the public to engage in the current consultation process and make their views known to National Grid before the deadline of March 13 which it has set.

"We fully support the generation of green and renewable energy, but object to trashing the landscape in order to then deliver it to us when there is an affordable and viable alternative option.”

For more details on the campaign, visit nopylons.co.uk

To have a say on the proposals and more consulation dates visit nationalgrid.com/g-w