COLCHESTER Council’s leader has described plans to build 110 miles of pylons across East Anglia as “countryside-blighting technology”.

The East Anglia Green Energy Enablement (GREEN) project is a proposal to build a new high voltage network reinforcement between Norwich, Bramford and Tilbury.

The National Grid move is part of a wider scheme to reach net zero by 2050 and connect 50 GW of offshore wind by 2030.

But councils in Essex and campaign groups are protesting the plans and calling for alternative options to be explored.

Colchester City Council has been consulted on its views, as the proposals would see power lines run south-easterly past Washbrook, Copdock and East Bergholt before crossing the border into the Colchester district, running underground past Dedham and Langham, and then crossing the A12.

The current proposal would require a large swathe of countryside in Constable Country to be cleared of trees, hedges and archaeology to allow cables to be buried.

The cables would re-emerge to form a new overhead line to Lawford heading westwards through Langham, West Bergholt, Aldham and then onwards to Chelmsford.

In July, leading councillors made known their opposition to the project, citing the impact the high-voltage lines would have on the local environment and an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Last month, Colchester City Council was consulted on ways to capture the environmental impacts of the scheme against which the proposals will be assessed.

In its submission, the council commented on the environmental tests that would be required and reaffirmed its continuing opposition to the current scheme.

David King, council leader, said: “We will continue to challenge National Grid’s proposals, their lack of explanation and justification, and their resistance to less damaging ways to meet demand and to reduce carbon emissions.

“Pylons are countryside-blighting technology and wholly inappropriate.

“Most of Colchester is rural and highly valued for its landscape, farming, recreation and wellbeing.

"We have a duty to secure the least harmful scheme, and we remain committed to securing the best we can for Colchester and East Anglia as a whole.”

Andrea Luxford-Vaughan, councillor responsible for planning, added: “We remain unconvinced by this project, which seems to be driven more by cost than anything else.

“We are custodians of our environment and must challenge the preconceptions that have shaped this scheme to deliver a much better outcome for our residents, the environment, and the rural economy.

“There simply must be a better way to reinforce the grid without blighting our beautiful countryside and our communities.”