THOUSANDS of people have signed a petition against “pylon-blight” plan to improve the electricity network in East Anglia.

National Grid’s proposal is to create a 180 km long corridor of 55 metre high overhead pylons stretching across Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.

The network will run south easterly past Washbrook and Copdock and East Bergholt until it crosses the border into the Colchester district, running underground past Dedham, Langham and crossing the A12.

But more almost 2,500 residents signed a petition against the East Anglia Green plans saying “we need to protect East Anglia’s stunning landscapes”.

Hundreds of angry Colchester residents have also packed a forum at West Bergholt’s Orpen Hall to demand ministerial intervention.

Mark Putman, a self-employed businessman, who lives with his wife and one-year-old daughter in Great Horkesley, said: “There is a lot of fight and fury in local people over this.

“We have been told that there is no minimum distance that pylons can be built from our property – and the plans shows they could build very close to us.

“We would be stuck surrounded by pylons with a small child surrounded by a carcinogenic field. This all needs to go under the sea.”

The plans have also been opposed by Harwich and north Essex MP Sir Bernard Jenkin, who chairs the Off-Shore Electricity Grid Task Force (OffSET).

But the impact the high transmission power lines could have on people’s health seems to be one of the biggest concerns.

West Bergholt resident Joanne Elliott said: “My husband is disabled and has a special heart device.

“We have just adapted our entire property – and I don’t want him anywhere near a pylon.”

Semi-retired West Bergholt-based businessman Trevor Lansdown added: “This pylon policy is medieval.

"The government must take action to create a new strategy that fits the 21st century – not just in Essex but the entire UK.

"The pylons planned for this area should be re-routed under the sea, round the coast and up the Thames estuary.

"This hasn’t been a consultation by National Grid – it’s almost a fait accompli – as they have currently presented no alternative options."

Liam Walker, project director at East Anglia GREEN said National Grid, is taking residents’ concerns into account.

He added: “National policy sets out that in most cases overhead cables are an appropriate solution but, of course, we understand that landscape and visual impacts are an issue and we will be looking to see how they may be mitigated.

“This is the initial stage of consultation. We will be back again next year to follow up.”

The consultation will be open until June 16. Visit

The petition can be found at