A CONCERNED MP has hit back at plans to upgrade an electricity network which could see Constable Country dug up.

National Grid’s plans include an 180 metre transmission line between Norwich, Bramford and Tilbury, with a new connection substation on the Tendring peninsula to help the UK achieve its net zero target for 2050.

According to the consultation, the infrastructure will mainly include overhead cables and pylons except in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) where underground works are proposed.

But the plans have spurred the Off-Shore Electricity Grid Task Force (OffSET) into action, which is chaired by Harwich MP Sir Bernard Jenkin.

More than 100 frustrated residents joined its initial Zoom meeting and a further 800 have already joined the Facebook group.

Sir Bernard said: “What we cannot have is cheap and cheerful patchwork solutions.

“The current plans are a non-starter and the meeting with so many campaigners just goes to show the strength of feeling against the pylons.

“It’s a no-brainer, there should be no new overhead transmission cables through the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) or any area that is earmarked to be included in the AONB.

“One alternative is undergrounding but this pushes up the cost very substantially and begins to make the offshore ring could be a much more viable and long-term proposal.”

Both Sir Bernard and Rosie Pearson, who is a spokesman for Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons, are in support of an offshore grid.

Ms Pearson said: “This proposal is marketed as ‘green’ because it transports renewable energy. It is not green it will result in an unacceptable industrialisation of our precious and beautiful East Anglian landscapes over 180km.

“ It will have an impact on wildlife, communities and businesses, that has not been taken into account.

“National Grid’s so-called consultation is not fit for purpose because the public and stakeholders cannot make an informed choice about the best method to bring offshore energy to Tilbury we have had no options presented to us. “ A spokesperson for National Grid said: “The National Policy Statements set out that overhead lines will often be appropriate when we are developing new proposals like this, and therefore, our starting point will be to consider new overhead lines.

"Planning policy recognises that there will be some places where overhead lines are not appropriate, for example, at particularly sensitive locations. For this reason we are proposing underground cables where the route crosses the Dedham Vale AONB.

“We are in the early stages of developing the East Anglia GREEN project and are asking for feedback from local communities on our proposed route and any local information will be welcomed.”

The consultation will be open until June 16. Visit ngrid.com/382QjOA.