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Lincolnshire pylon plan will take up ‘26 square miles’ of land, say campaigners

Campaign group No Pylons Lincolnshire has been analysing all available information to fully assess the impact of National Grid’s plan for the county, and they say it’s not big… it’s huge!

The 87-mile pylon route all the way through Lincolnshire is a means to an end which will see more than 17,000 acres of land gobbled up in associated substations, transformers, solar farms, battery and hydrogen storage and new gas-fired power stations.

Much of this land is grade one arable land - the finest food-growing land in the country about which this week Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “We need to increase food production, food security is really important and we need to protect our prime agricultural land for that purpose.”

The proposed route
The proposed route

National Grid admits these new land-based projects have already been contracted to connect to its proposed Grimsby to Walpole overhead cables, even though it is only now engaged in first-stage consultation with the public.

The proposed projects are by generating companies and subject to planning approval - but are made possible by National Grid's Grimsby to Walpole pylons link.

Cat Makinson, of No Pylons Lincolnshire, said: “We are all for green energy and fully supportive of net zero goals; but that which can be produced and carried offshore is by far the best solution to the energy and farming crisis.

The proposed pylon line will be 87 miles long. Photo: Mark Bullimore
The proposed pylon line will be 87 miles long. Photo: Mark Bullimore

“This is not just about power from offshore wind farms connecting to a pylon chain through Lincolnshire from Grimsby to Walpole.

“It’s much, much bigger than that. It’s about all the land-based infrastructure - solar farms, battery storage, power stations and hydrogen plants - that the new overland line will attract.

“And it is not yet clear how all this new infrastructure will connect to the new substations.

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“This will impact many thousands and not just those who might be close to the pylons route and decision makers cannot look at the pylons plan in isolation.

“We are calling for joined-up decision making that properly balances the needs of agriculture and energy and is respectful of communities in Lincolnshire.

“We aim to persuade Government to take a closer look at the offshore alternatives.”

No Pylons Lincolnshire has spent the past five weeks analysing every word National Grid has made public and attended its consultation events to quiz its personnel.

It has learned that the areas of land needed for the substations will be much more than National Grid has stated when the likely requirements of the associated transformers, solar arrays, energy storage and power stations are included.

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National Grid declared that in Grimsby the substation requirement would be around 30 acres.

But when the land to be also used for connecting related projects is included the total area expands to a huge 3,824 acres.

The two substations for the Alford area - Woodthorpe and Claythorpe - expand to 6,804 acres, Weston Marsh to 6,259 acres and Walpole to 178 acres.

Gas turbine stations at Mablethorpe and Walpole will have hydrogen plants which have not been included in No Pylons Lincolnshire’s calculations as their sizes have not been specified by National Grid and battery storage facilities for the solar farms have not been included.

Peter Phillips of No Pylons Lincolnshire said: “These calculations are based on National Grid’s proposals and connections list.

“You can add about 40 acres for the footprint of all the pylons, but the added infrastructure that these will bring is the real story.

“It’s around 26 square miles - about twice the size of Lincoln and its borough. It’s the second industrial revolution creeping up on us here in Lincolnshire.”

Farmers are outraged by the proposals. Hazel Needham, a third-generation farmer at Fosdyke, said: “Food will be replaced by a harvest of electricity.

“We will have to import more food that we can grow here in Lincolnshire and that will cost everyone more.”

No Pylons Lincolnshire wants National Grid to answer questions placed by residents daily on its Facebook site:

What is the full cost of the pylons scheme – not just the capital costs – using the Government’s Treasury Green Book assessment which is applied to public projects such as this;

Is there a likelihood of over production of electricity if all the new onshore projects come to fruition, including any associated with the 17 other Great Grid Upgrade proposals around the country;

No Pylons Lincolnshire is continuing to oppose the pylons plan and support instead an undersea route and the establishment of an offshore integrated grid to enable connectivity at sea of the current offshore wind turbines and others coming online in the future.

No Pylons Lincolnshire is urging residents to take part in the current National Grid consultation, which ends on Wednesday (March 13).

What do you think about the plan? Tel us your views in the comments below...

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