Brentwood Council slams ‘appalling’ power line scheme

An “appalling scheme” that would see hundreds of pylons march across countryside in Essex has generated more complaints than any other in the 15 years one councillor has been representing people in the Brentwood.

Brentwood Borough Council is formally opposing the plans that could see the 400kV power line to transfer electricity generated by nuclear and wind march through land set aside for a 4,000-home garden village in Brentwood.

It means Dunton Garden Village – a vital component of Brentwood’s future housing plans – could be dominated by high voltage overhead transmission lines suspended by 45 to 50-metre-tall steel lattice pylons.

The planned 4000-home Dunton Garden Village, which is expected to see the first 1,650 homes built in the next 11 years, is a vital part of the newly adopted Brentwood local plan accounting for around a third of the total housing needs of the borough between 2016 and 2033.

Speaking in support of a motion carried at Brentwood Council’s ordinary meeting on June 22 objecting to the East Anglia Green proposals to run high voltage cable across East Anglia and subsequently through Essex and the Borough of Brentwood, to deliver offshore wind-generated power from Norfolk through to Tilbury, Councillor Noelle Hones (Cons, Ingatestone, Fryerning and Mountnessing) said: “This is an appalling scheme that uh this council should object to it in the strongest terms to national grid.

“This is one issue that has generated more emails of complaint than any other in all the years I’ve been a councillor. There’s real anger out there about this and it’s not just a nimbyism but it’s real concern about the blight that these pylons will put on the countryside and the harm that the project will do to the environment.”

In a formal opinion into the plan for a 180-km long high voltage power line suspended on 50-metre high pylons across open countryside including around Braintree, Chelmsford and Brentwood. Charles Barrister QC, a leader barrister employed by campaigners has said National Grid has failed to evaluate the environmental impacts of the preferred route against alternatives which involve no, or considerably fewer pylons. Councils across East Anglia say the power line should go undersea round the coast and then up the Thames estuary to Tilbury

Councillor Hones, who has been a councillor since 2007, said: “For National Grid to call this consultation is an absolute insult. It wasn’t a consultation at all it was more of a presentation of their pre-predetermined scheme that they were they were going to do so no other options were presented.”

Leader of Brentwood Council Councillor Chris Hossack said: “It’s ill-thought through in running their cables they accidentally or didn’t realise that we just got a new local development plan that we’ve been talking about for years and Dunton hills garden village has been all over the place but that didn’t stop them running their cables right through the middle of the village. They seem to not to notice so I do question the level of thought that went into this and maybe there’s another strategy of play that we’re not aware of.

“But offshore cabling should be the way forward to generate power offshore run it across land to take it to Tilbury which is pretty close to offshore or near shore is a rather stupid idea as far as I’m concerned.”

Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter