A MAJOR consultation launched by National Grid ahead of a 110-mile pylon project has received stiff opposition from Colchester Council, with the council leader saying it would be "catastrophic" if the proposals were carried out.

The eight-week consultation opened in June so residents and local authorities could have their say on the East Anglia Green Energy Enablement project (GREEN), which would see a high voltage network from Norwich all the way to Tilbury.

Specifically, one section of the project will run from south-westerly past Washbrook, Copdock and East Bergholt before crossing the border into Essex, running underground past Dedham and Langham to a substation at Ardleigh, then crossing the A12 underground.

A pylon line would then return across the north of Colchester to Great Horkesley.

In its second detailed response to National Grid’s consultation on the project, Colchester Council reaffirmed its objections to the pylons and pledged its support for a wholly offshore subsea solution.

Council leader, David King, said the effects of development would have a severely detrimental effect across a range of sectors.

He said: “These lines would have a devastating impact on our beautiful countryside, our tourism industry, and our environment.

“We believe that a wholly offshore coordinated solution using subsea cables is the best way to proceed.

“Even underground cables onshore have a very significant potential impact with the loss of ancient trees and hedgerows.

“The visual impact of onshore overhead lines would be catastrophic, and they would scar our countryside and blight our communities.”

Andrea Luxford Vaughan, the council’s cabinet member for planning, environment and sustainability, added National Grid could meet the demands for energy in Essex without an offshore system.

She said: “We are calling on National Grid to reconsider its plans and to adopt a wholly offshore solution.

“We believe that this is the best way to protect our local area and to ensure that we can meet our future energy needs in a sustainable way.

“We are confident that National Grid can find a way to meet our energy network needs without resorting to pylons and that a wholly offshore solution is feasible and affordable.

“We urge the company to listen to our concerns and to adopt a more sustainable and coordinated approach.”

The Gazette contacted National Grid for comment.