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National Grid has published its proposals to bury around eight kilometres of the new 400,000 Volt power connection between Bramford near Ipswich, and Twinstead Tee, south of Sudbury.
The controversial new power line project has undergone two and a half years of consultation with the public, with National Grid deciding that the cost of burying two sections of the cables can be justified. These underground sections of the route run through Dedham Vale and the Stour Valley.
Feedback from the public and experts has highlighted the concerns that too many pylons in the area would ruin the countryside's outstanding natural beauty.
In September 2011 National Grid announced a new approach to routing new cables that put a greater emphasis on keeping the landscape looking as natural as possible. The approach considers projects on an individual basis, looking into the balance between environmental, cultural, visual, technical and cost factors. The Bramford to Twinstead project is the first time this new approach has been used.
National Grid has proposed that the underground cable will run approximately four kilometres from Whitestreet Green to Leavenheath. The Stour Valley is also considered an area important for its landscape, as well as its cultural links with Gainsborough, Constable and Nash. The proposal sees nearly four kilometres of cable put underground along this part of the route.
National Grid Project Manager Shaun Hughes says: "When we announced our preferred corridor, we said we would look along the length of the route to see where the additional cost of undergrounding the cables could be justified. After further consultation with residents and other interested groups, and after carrying out further environmental surveys, we are proposing to build underground cables along more than a quarter of the total route.
The next stage of the project will see more discussions with landowners and consultation with the public and experts, alongside environmental surveys. National Grid hopes this will help identify where the overhead line and underground cable should be placed. The application is expected to be made in 2013 after which the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change will make the final decision on National Grid’s proposals.