A coalition of environmental charities has commissioned a report calling for a halt to plans to reinforce the high voltage electricity network in Suffolk using overhead lines and pylons.

Campaigners have welcomed the report by Dr Andy Tickle, an independent planning and campaign consultant, into power firm National Grid's plans for the high voltage network from Norwich to Tilbury, which will pass through Suffolk.

In the report, entitled 'Greening the Great Grid Upgrade', Dr Tickle called for the scheme to be halted to enable various offshore and underground solutions to be investigated, which were proposed by "expert bodies and campaign groups".

National Grid has refuted the findings of the report.

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The report was welcomed by campaigners, including Suffolk Energy Action Solutions (SEAS), which campaigns against the adverse effects of offshore wind farms on the countryside and environment.

East Anglian Daily Times: Fiona Gilmore, of SEASFiona Gilmore, of SEAS (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Power from these wind farms will be carried through the scheme's cables and will be brought onshore via subsea electricity cables, known as LionLink and Sea Link.

SEAS founder Fiona Gilmore said: "This is an excellent initiative and Dr Andy Tickle, who has 40 years of specialism, should be congratulated for a lucid, well-informed and insightful report."

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She said the LionLink interconnector should not be brought onshore to Suffolk and said MPs had deemed Sea Link to be a 'white elephant' whose cost would exceed its value.

SEAS said it is particularly concerned about the impact of plans to create a substation at Friston and converter station at Saxmundham to accommodate the electricity produced offshore.

Dr Tickle's report was commissioned by the countryside charity CPRE in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex and the Suffolk Preservation Society, which campaigns to protect Suffolk.

READ MORE: Suffolk campaigners had called for grid for wind farm power

Ms Gilmore added: "The CPRE trio, including the much respected Suffolk Preservation Society is calling for a moratorium, time for Government to reflect on the true definition of a Grid Upgrade.

"The offshore solutions using hybrid assets where wind energy can be aggregated at sea at offshore platforms and islands should now be the default position.

"Yet, this is not National Grid’s starting point.

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"National Grid is behind the curve and Government needs to halt these needlessly destructive plans and bring in objective advisers to devise a spatial energy strategy as proposed in the Winser report (July 2023)." 

However, a spokesperson for National Grid said: “We do not support the findings of the CPRE report.

"We need to progress the Norwich to Tilbury onshore project to be able to meet both the government’s target to connect 50GW of offshore wind by 2030 and our legal obligation to connect offshore wind customers to the grid.  

"Delaying would mean not only missing this target and requirement, but also delaying homes and businesses in East Anglia and beyond having access to cleaner and more affordable electricity in the long term.”