Pylon campaigners issue plea to the next government

A row of pylons
The proposed new network of pylons is part of what National Grid calls the Great Grid Upgrade [BBC]

Campaigners trying to stop a proposed electricity pylon network in Lincolnshire are asking the next government to put the project on hold.

No Pylons Lincolnshire has been set up to oppose an 87-mile electricity cable that is planned for the county. The route from Grimsby to Walpole, just over the border in Norfolk, will require 50m-high pylons every 300m.

National Grid says the facility is essential for bringing more electricity on shore from wind turbines out at sea.

But concerns are being raised about the visual impact of the scheme on a landscape of farms and tourism businesses.

Nicola Hughes touching a model of a pylon with her left hand
Nicola Hughes is building models to illustrate the scale of the proposed pylons [BBC]

Nicola Hughes, who is part of No Pylons Lincolnshire, said the next government needed to pause the project and urgently review its planning policies.

"It has been frightening. People have lost sleep, people are panicking about the threat," she said.

Mrs Hughes has spent hours in her workshop creating matchstick models of the structures to give people a sense of their scale.

She has broader concerns about what she calls "the industrialisation of the countryside" in order to support renewable energy generation.

"We support green energy, that's not an issue. Solar panels? Yes, on houses. Battery storage? Yes, in your house. But not using farmland, not spoiling our environment," she said.

National Grid map of the east coast
The 87-mile pylon route would take electricity from offshore wind farms through Lincolnshire to a substation at Walpole [BBC]

Anti-pylon campaigners were angered by comments made by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in a recent BBC interview.

On Panorama, Sir Keir was asked if he would tell people objecting to pylons or housing developments being built near their homes that they would have to see them go ahead.

He replied: "Yes, we are going to have to be tough. We're going to have to change the way things are done."

Mrs Hughes said she was "incensed" by those remarks.

The Conservatives said they would review planning guidance on pylons. Their manifesto states: "The review will consider moving to a presumption in favour of undergrounding where cost-competitive."

The Liberal Democrats have echoed concerns about visual impact of pylons and want underground power lines to always be considered.

Richard Tice, the Reform UK candidate for Boston and Skegness, told BBC Radio Lincolnshire that, if elected, he would "campaign hard, hard against them".

Two contractors blurred looking up at a pylon
National Grid says the cable will carry enough energy to power six million homes and businesses [National Grid]

A spokesperson for National Grid said: “Our proposals in Lincolnshire are a critical part of the new electricity infrastructure required for the UK to reach net zero.

“As demand for electricity is set to double, new onshore electricity network is needed to connect more power and energy projects that are mostly onshore in Lincolnshire, including solar and battery storage, and offshore wind.

"Grimsby to Walpole will carry enough clean energy to power six million homes and businesses, delivering more affordable, more secure and cleaner electricity generated in the UK, to people in Lincolnshire and beyond.”

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