West Bergholt Parish Council Opposes National Grid’s Pylons Project

West Bergholt Parish Council has been active in opposing the National Grid’s plans for a line of pylons marching across our countryside from Norwich to Tilbury.

The earliest reference to this opposition was on 27th April 2022 – over 2 years ago. It is apparent, though, that residents are now also getting more engaged and so we have set up this page to share what we know and what we have done in one place. You can view the full timeline below.

Public Consultation Still Open…

… but not for long. The deadline for you to state your objections (or support or suggestions) has been extended due to the General Election to midnight on Tuesday 26th July.

They have also pushed back of five remaining Webinars for which you can register on their project website. These dates are:

Date & TimeTopic
Wednesday 10th July – 6pm – 7pmSouth Norfolk & Mid Suffolk sections
Thursday 11th July – 6pm – 7pmBabergh, Tendring & Colchester sections
Tuesday 16th July – 6pm – 7pmBraintree & Chelmsford sections
Wednesday 17th July – 6pm – 7pmBasildon, Brentwood & Thurrock sections
Thursday 18th July – 6pm – 7pmProject Overview

You can provide your feedback to National Grid by following this link.

The Most Recent Plans

The proposed route resurfaces in the West Bergholt parish from the north at Crabtree Lane. They were previously underground through Great Horkesley and Dedham Vale. The route then follows the valley of a tributary of the River Colne onwards to Fossetts Lane and Fordham.

Screen shot showing the main swathe of pylons across North Colchester:

Proposed pylon route towards the North of Colchester

Closer view of the pylons close to West Bergholt:

Pylon Route close to the village

If you want to see the full route you can view the full map here. (Note it may not work on some browsers – simply try another browser if this is the case for you).

The Project Timeline According to National Grid

National Grid Timeline for Pylons route from Norwich to Tilbury

Parish Council’s Engagement Timeline

Below is the timeline (In Reverse) of Parish Council Interactions with the project. More notes and documents will be added to the timeline as they become available.

21st May 2024The Parish Council became aware that the National Grid had published a highly detailed map showing the route together with all temporary & permanent infrastructure. View the map here. (Note it may not work on some browsers – simply try another browser if this is the case for you).
16th May 2024Cllr Short attends National Grid’s Statutory Consultation open event held in Langham Village Hall.
24th April 2024April 24 Annual Parish Meeting. Displays included the dates of National Grid’s Statutory Consultation open events, happening throughout the local area, as a reminder to residents to visit and respond. Cllr Butcher, as Chair of the Parish Council and the meeting, also draw residents’ attention to the work undertaken by the Parish Council objecting to the Pylons in his welcome speech, which can be read here.
10th April 2024National Grid’s Statutory Consultation begins until Tues 18th June (11:59pm) 2024
27th March 2024March 2024 Parish Council meeting. Colchester City Council Planning Officer, James Ryan, joined the Parish Council meeting.  He described his role in the Pylons Consultation process and the stages that will be upcoming.  There was an opportunity for those present to engage in a Q&A session as well where issues such as impact on local roads and agricultural land and the alternatives that might be more acceptable were discussed.  The Chair of the PC summarised what actions the PC would take to feedback into James.  You can read the details from the meeting at reference 24/39 here.  The Parish Council will contribute to CCC’s response as soon as the statutory consultation begins via James, but will also submit its own response.
1st March 2024Spring Village Bulletin (issue 175) distributed to all households. Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk Pylons Update article on page 10, read the full article here.
28th February 2024February 24 Parish Council meeting. You can read further details of the pylon route site visit on 13th February at reference 24/23 here under the City Councillor’s report.
13th February 2024West Bergholt were the first parish council to take up Colchester City Council Planning Officer James Ryan’s offer for a site visit to walk the proposed pylon route across the Parish on the 13th Feb 2024.  The team learnt that both pylons (50m high) and underground (with 100m wide trenches and venting stations every 500m) were equally intrusive.  It seemed logical that with offshore-generated power being delivered to the Thames Estuary, staying offshore makes sense.   The full report into the visit with CCC Planning Officer James Ryan and City Councillor Sara Naylor can be read here together with pictures taken from the sites.
24th January 2024January 24 Parish Council meeting. Cllr Short reported back on his attendance at an Anti-Pylons meeting held on 1st December.  You can read the details at reference 24/14B here.  His report referenced an upcoming article in the Spring edition of the Village Bulletin magazine due to be published on 1st March 2024 (see above).
1st December 2023Cllr Short attends Anti-Pylon meeting held at St Mary the Virgin Church in West Bergholt, led by Rosie Pearson.
22nd November 2023November 23 Parish Council meeting. Cllr Short reported on his review of a review commissioned by Essex, Suffolk & Norfolk County Councils.  The review was 42 pages long. You can read his summary at reference 23/199 here.  His summary concludes that the operation does not appear to be justified.
26th July 2023July 23 Parish Council meeting. Cllr Short reported his findings of the 13th July consultation event to the Parish Council. You can view the National Grid’s “Consultation Document” here.  You can also read Cllr Short’s briefing at reference 23/134A here. After discussion at the meeting Cllr Short was given delegated power to respond on behalf of the Parish Council in all matters concerned with the National Grid Pylons project.
13th July 2023Cllr Short attends a Norwich to Tilbury consultation event on 13th July.
28th June 2023June 23 Parish Council meeting. The Parish Council noted there were upcoming Public Consultation meetings and asked Cllr Short to attend one of these meetings.  You can read the minute referenced at 23/122G here.
10th May 2023May 23 Parish Council meeting. Cllr David Short named as Project Lead Councillor in the fight against NG’s East Anglia Green Project see minute reference 23/88b here
26th April 2023Say No to Pylons banner
April 23 Annual Parish meeting. Rosie Pearson, who leads the Essex, Suffolk & Norfolk Anti-Pylons Action Group gave a presentation to the Annual Parish Meeting. 
Rosie Pearson addressing the Annual Parish Meeting
She mentioned that the proposed route passes through a wood that her parents had planted 30 years ago.  It was her understanding that National Grid are strongly preferring the use of pylons with only a side-consideration of trenching and no thoughts at all of off-shore.  You can read the full details in the minutes of the Parish Meeting at item 3 including a Q&A session.
22nd March 2023Cllr Short updated the Parish Council on the Pylons project as part of a debate on deciding to formally support the Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk Action Group. It was agreed to offer that formal support.  You can read more about this at the following:
Minute reference 23/58 on this page, and
Cllr Short’s update report appended to that page here.
23rd November 2022November 22 Parish Council meeting. The Parish Council approved a response to the Planning Inspectorate’s scoping consultation for the National Grid project.  This was to be sent not only to the Planning Inspectorate but also to Rosie Pearson, Chair of the Action Group, Frances Torrington (coordinating responses) and Sir Bernard Jenkin MP.  You can read the minutes here at reference 22/169.  You can read the response here as well as additional response to PINS for clarification dated 30th Nov 2023.
16th November 2022November 22 Planning Committee meeting. The Planning Committee discussed and agreed a response was needed to the Planning Inspectorate’s scoping consultation into National Grid’s pylon project. You can read the minute detail here at item 5.
2nd November 2022October 22 Parish Council meeting (held on 2nd Nov). The Parish Council were updated by Cllr Short on a meeting chaired by Sir Bernard Jenkin MP.  You can read his background paper online here.  Following discussion there was some concern that National Grid’s figures needed to be justified and Cllr Short was tasked with drafting a letter asking them to do so.  You can reads the minute at reference 22/149 here.
22nd June 2022June 22 Parish Council meeting. Borough Councillor Barber reported to the Parish Council that the County & Borough Councils had both responded to a consultation exercise for the National Grid Pylons project.  He felt that the project was still ‘early days’ and pressure on MPs was called for.  You can read this at reference 22/90 here. The response to GREEN was agreed under item 22/92b of the same meeting.
25th May 2022May 22 Parish Council meeting. The Parish Council discussed a paper, on the Outline & Principles of WBPC’s response,  prepared by Cllr Stevenson to inform the process of generating a response to the consultation which was delegated to the Planning Committee You can read the relevant minute at reference 22/77B here. The Planning Committee meeting of June 2022 was subsequently cancelled but the response agreed at the June Parish Council meeting instead.
7th May 2022National Grid held their consultation at Orpen Memorial Hall on Saturday 7th May run by Copper Consultancy. No documents were made available from this consultation.
27th April 2022April 22 Annual Parish Meeting. At the Annual Parish Meeting (same night as Parish Council meeting), having been just notified about the pylons, the Parish Council had quickly prepared a display on the National Grid’s proposal for what was then called the East Anglia Green Energy Enablement project (acronym GREEN), so it could alert residents as soon as possible.  There was some informal discussion about the project.  You can read the relevant minute between items 6 and 7 here.
27th April 2022April 22 Parish Council meeting. The Parish Council first heard word of the Pylons project just prior to the meeting (minute reference 22/62 here) as they had received a notification that the plan would be for them to run through West Bergholt Parish.
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