National Grid is inviting the public to identify areas and locations which are particularly valued by local communities as it considers the more detailed routing for a proposed 400-kV power connection between south Suffolk and Essex UK. Since last autumn the company has been consulting residents, local authorities and environmental and other bodies as it considers whether it may be appropriate to place underground sections of a proposed transmission line between Bramford, near Ipswich, and Twinstead Tee, near Sudbury. The company is holding a series of drop-in events during late January and early February to present the information and consultation feedback it has gathered so far to the public and give people the chance to comment.
National Grid project manager Martin Davies said: “National Grid’s job is to connect people to the energy they use. The Bramford-Twinstead Tee connection is needed to connect proposed new power generators to the East Anglian system and help meet the country’s energy needs with new low carbon sources of generation.
“We are currently consulting people to develop a detailed design for the connection. We want to work with local communities to minimize the impact of any new infrastructure and as part of our consultation we are giving consideration to areas where the significant extra cost of installing cables underground and the environmental effects it would cause, may be outweighed by the other benefits it may bring to the environment.
“Since the autumn we have been consulting with local residents, through independently-chaired community forums, and with local authorities and other bodies through ‘thematic groups.’ We have gathered a great deal of information and now we would welcome the views of the wider public.”
National Grid hopes to identify its preferred areas for undergrounding in the spring. After which it will continue to consult on detailed routes for any underground cables and for an overhead line in those areas where the connection is proposed to go over ground, as well as measures to reduce the impact on the landscape of any infrastructure.
Following final (Stage 3) consultation on a proposed detailed connection design, National Grid would expect to apply for consent to the Infrastructure Planning Commission or its successor in summer 2013.
National Grid announced in July 2011 its preferred route known as Corridor 2 – a broad swathe of land within which overhead lines and underground cables could be sited.
The majority of Corridor 2 runs alongside an existing 400-kV National Grid overhead line and contains a UK Power Networks 132-kV line. Under this option National Grid would take down the 132-kV line from Burstall Bridge to Twinstead Tee and build a new 400-kV overhead line. A new substation will be needed west of Twinstead Tee to secure power supplies to the UK Power Networks system.