THREE county councils have united in expressing their concerns regarding a project which could see the installation of more than 100 miles of electricity cables across the region’s countryside.

Essex County Council, as well as authorities in nearby Suffolk and Norfolk, are being consulted on the proposals as statutory consultees, and the three councils have already raised concerns during an initial consultation last year.

National Grid has now opened a consultation to anyone wishing to comment on its Norwich to Tilbury proposal, which was previously known as East Anglia Green.

Lesley Wagland, the county councillor responsible for infrastructure in Essex, said: “We have continued to work with our city, district, and borough councils, and neighbouring county councils to discuss the Norwich to Tilbury project.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Working together - county councillor Lesley WaglandWorking together - county councillor Lesley Wagland (Image: Will Durrant)

“We remain fully committed to our net-zero ambitions and appreciate this involves building infrastructure to connect renewable energy sources to the National Grid. However, we believe this can be far better achieved by viable alternative means, without the detrimental impact to our residents, businesses, and the local environment that would be caused by the current proposals.

“We will continue to push for changes to the proposals, and I would urge the public to also have their say.”

Residents can have their say on the project online or by attending a series of face-to-face consultation events.

But Rosie Pearson, of the Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons action group, feels National Grid has failed to understand the demographics of the area when planning these events.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Campaigner - Rosie Pearson, of the Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons action groupCampaigner - Rosie Pearson, of the Essex Suffolk Norfolk Pylons action group (Image: Newsquest)

She said: “The area has many commuters who cannot make early evening meetings, and many farmers, for whom harvest season is difficult.

“I would like to hope it was not deliberate, but the only Saturday drop-in event is in Lawford, clashing with the Tendring Show. The roads will be gridlocked and many of the target audience will be in the show.

“National Grid keeps saying it wants to hear what people have to say, but they are making it as hard as possible.”

A spokesperson for National Grid said: “National Grid’s Norwich to Tilbury project is a proposal for new infrastructure to connect green energy to the grid and allow clean electricity to power homes and businesses across East Anglia and the UK, boosting our home-grown energy security and progress towards Government targets for net zero.

“We are hosting several face-to-face events in Essex and four one-hour online webinar sessions during July and August, where our proposals will be presented and followed by an opportunity to ask questions.

"A recorded presentation will be available on the website and paper copies of consultation materials are also available to view at libraries and local councils across Essex and feedback can be submitted in-person, online, or by free post.

“The feedback we received in last year’s initial consultation has been valuable in helping us to further shape, and where able, make changes to our proposals.

"This latest consultation is another part of our engagement with communities and stakeholders along the proposed route and we encourage people to get in touch and share their views.”