MORE than 90 million birds are set to join forces with an action group fighting to put a halt to National Grid’s plans to build 180km of 50-metre-high pylons across East Anglia.

The East Atlantic Flyway, a stretch that starts in north east Canada and runs down to South Africa, takes in the whole of the east coast of England to Essex, has been nominated for Government backing.

The stretch, which encompasses the area proposed by National Grid’s plans, has been nominated to become the first World Heritage Site of its kind.

If the East Anglian Flyway became a UNESCO heritage site, it would receive additional international legal protection meaning that the land could not be built on.

Gazette: Rosie Pearson of Pylons East AngliaRosie Pearson of Pylons East Anglia (Image: Rosie Pearson)

The current proposals would see the building 180km of overhead cables, carrying renewable energy from offshore windfarms across East Anglia, as well as Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent.

Rosie Pearson, founder of the Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons action group, said: “This is very exciting news.

“Our group recently commissioned a report on the grave danger that overhead pylons create for high-risk bird species in our area including swans, barn owls, kestrels, herons and Canada geese.

“Our figures show that power lines can kill these birds in substantial numbers.

 “This Flyway corridor is used by over 90 million coastal and wild birds every year and we are delighted the Department for Culture Media and Sport is supporting a bid for its World Heritage Site recognition, the first site of its kind.”

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Norman Stevens, who drafted a report on bird collision with pylons for the action group, said: “We have undeniable evidence that many species of our birds are at huge risk from overhead lines.

“The British Trust for Ornithology says many hundreds of ringed birds across nearly 70 species have been reported as hitting wires, found under wires, or electrocuted in Essex Suffolk and Norfolk.

“This risk should not be allowed to continue, especially by design.

"Cables must be underground or part of a co-ordinated offshore grid, as demanded by over 23,000 East Anglians in a petition last summer.”