Pylons update

Last Thursday I attended a public meeting in Bildeston. It was packed and the feeling of the vast majority was that the cables should be put underground. Tim Yeo chaired the meeting and I wasn’t really sure at the end what his view was.

I am most concerned that the County Council takes the views of local councillors into account and I have asked how this is to be achieved. The issue is to be discussed at the February Cabinet meeting at Endeavour House.

I was most impressed at the research that had already been done by members of the audience, who were drawn from a wide swathe of South Suffolk and North Essex. A number of people have looked into the cost of undergrounding. Whilst National Grid are telling us that it costs 12 to 17 times as much as overhead cables, evidence from other European countries contradicts this.When I enquired about costs in Denmark I was told that it was 5 to 7 times more expensive, but this may be a lower voltage than the 400kv required for the new route(s). I also came across this article dated April 2010 about a similar controversy in Germany:

http://www.wire.de/cipp/md_wiretube/custom/pub/content,lang,2/oid,7766/ticket,g_u_e_s_t/~/Transmission_system_expansion_in_Germany_Underground_cable_or_overhead_lines.htmlThere’s an interesting quote from someone in the industry there “If you consider not only manufacturing and excavation costs, but also maintenance costs, electricity losses and down time costs plus the shortened approval times, extra high voltage underground cables are only two to five times more expensive than overhead lines, depending on local conditions”.I am very keen that we co-ordinate efforts across South Suffolk and North Essex. The Groton Alliance are setting up a website soon and I hope this will be a repository and rallying point. Another website with very useful information is here:

www.stourvalleyunderground.org.uk

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