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Fears plans to run pylons along Lincolnshire’s coast will ‘carve up’ landscape’ and affect tourism

Plans to run a huge string of pylons along Lincolnshire’s coast will ‘carve up our beautiful landscape’ and could affect tourism, it has been claimed.

The National Grid’s Great Grid Upgrade will see an overhaul of the electricity grid involving new infrastructure projects across the country, including proposals to install new overhead cabling right through Lincolnshire between Grimsby and Walpole in Norfolk, along with new electricity substations.

However, a number of Yellowbelly figureheads have spoken out against the plan.

Coun Colin Davie
Coun Colin Davie

Lincolnshire County Council’s Coun Colin Davie, executive councillor for economic development, environment and planning is not in favour of the scheme – arguing the county will take the burden for a scheme that may not benefit the area.

“This so-called ‘Great Grid Upgrade’ won’t be great for Lincolnshire’s visitor economy as these pylons, substations and overhead cables will carve up our beautiful landscape,” he said.

“Alongside our seaside resort towns, a huge part of our coastal charm is the miles of unspoilt nature and beaches that make up the east of Lincolnshire.

“There are a string of nature reserves along the east coast, not to mention the Lincolnshire Wolds, the beauty of which would be severely impacted by these unsightly pylons.

“I understand the need for infrastructure to connect new sources of renewable energy to the grid.

“However, elsewhere in the country, National Grid’s plans involve burying these cables under the ground or under the sea; why can’t that be done in Lincolnshire too?

“And this isn’t power being brought in to supply Lincolnshire’s needs, necessarily. This wall of wires and pylons is ostensibly to take power down to London and the south east.”

Lincolnshire County Council’s executive approved an energy infrastructure position statement in December last year, which outlined how the council will respond robustly to National Significant Infrastructure Projects like this, to protect agricultural land and prevent developments blighting the landscape.

Coun Davie continued: “We refuse to let Lincolnshire be seen as a place to dump unwanted infrastructure projects.

“But as these pylon plans are classed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, permission won’t be determined locally.

“The council, as a statutory consultee, will be sure to make our views on the proposals clear to the relevant Secretary of State who will make the final decision to grant consent or not.”

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In response to the news, Louth & Horncastle MP and newly appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Victoria Atkins (Conservative), expressed her deep concerns about the proposal, as she encouraged residents to make their views known through public consultation.

She said: “I have expressed particular concern about the proximity of the pylons to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty of the Wolds, as well as the dominance such structures would have over the skylines of Louth, St James’ spire and the coastline.

“I have demanded detailed explanations as to why offshore or underground cabling is not yet being considered.

“I urge local residents to make their voices heard in National Grid’s consultation on this proposal.”

Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman (Conservative) echoed her thoughts in a social media post, stating: “Constituents across Boston and Skegness have already accommodated underground power lines and the proposed pylons will bring more disruption plus a permanent scar on our beautiful rural landscape.

“National Grid proposals include taking the cheapest option and failing to consider offshore or underground cabling. Lincolnshire contains areas of outstanding natural beauty and our coastline is a jewel in England’s crown — they deserve to be protected.

“I will be meeting National Grid to emphasise my concerns and would urge local residents to have their say.”

South Holland District Council leader Nick Worth (Conservative) acknowledged the pressing need for an upgrade to the grid, but concurred that the proposal could mar Lincolnshire’s picturesque rural landscape.

He said: “At the moment, the grid is full to capacity and that is restricting investment in the area. so, we need an upgrade – it’s ridiculous at the moment.”

However, he also added: “We already have pylons in the area, and I really don’t want to see any more. I know it’s more expensive to put them underground, but I would much prefer that.

“Lincolnshire is known for its wide open skies and I really don’t see why they can’t do this underground.”

East Lindsey District Council leader Craig Leyland (Conservative) also acknowledged that the development would be a “massive concern for residents.”

“We realise that this will be very concerning for many communities,” he said. “Our preference would be for it to be underground.

“If we have this through our district, they [National Grid] need to be very aware of the impact it will have on our tourism industry.”

A National Grid statement said: “The Grimsby to Walpole upgrade will include building a new 400,000 volt (400kV) overhead electricity transmission line from proposed new substations to be built in the vicinity of Grimsby West and the Walpole area, via two new substations in land from the Lincolnshire coast, to connect proposed new sources of renewable energy to the new line.

“Much of the existing high voltage electricity transmission network was built in the 1960s and does not extend into large parts of Lincolnshire.

“With the growth in power flows on the network from increasing offshore wind and interconnectors, the amount of electricity landing on the east coast and flowing through the Lincolnshire region by the end of this decade will be more than the existing network can currently accommodate.”

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