Electricity plans run roughshod over communities
Witham MP Priti Patel has raised her concerns over new plans published to change the planning, consultation and cost benefit analysis process for new electricity transmission infrastructure that risk ignoring local impacts and running roughshod over local communities affected.
The proposals, published by the Electricity Networks Commissioner Nick Winser, recommend that the National Policy Statement and the Development Consent Order process are changed to support faster roll outs of controversial infrastructure proposals such as overhead power lines and pylons, which would mean local concerns and consultation being sidelined in favour of national interests and the push to hit net zero targets. The way proposals are assessed for costs and benefits will be changed and communities will be expected to accept compensation in exchange for new infrastructure which could be damaging to local environments.
Priti, who has been campaigning against the National Grid’s plans for over 100 miles of new pylons and overhead power lines in East Anglia and calling for the development of an offshore grid as an alternative, said:
“These proposals will cause alarm and concern to communities across the country. What has been put forward is a plan to allow the energy sector to run roughshod over local views, reduce the influence that people can have in consultations and decision-making, and buy communities off with cash rather than have communities shape proposals.”
“Across East Anglia local communities faced with having their environments damaged by new pylons will see this as a way for National Grid to force their plans through and prevent important work taking place on developing an offshore alternative.”
“While we all recognise the importance of developing more domestic energy to meet our needs, reduce reliance on imports and to cut carbon, there are large parts of these plans that need to be reconsidered and the Government should not rush these changes through. The plans have already been published at the start of the summer recess, so many local campaigners will be concerned that it will be weeks before ministers can be questioned and challenged over them.”