Controversial Richborough Connection given green light by government

PUBLISHED: 15:00 03 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:00 03 August 2017




MPs fear the pylon route would “scar” the county’s landscape

Plans for a controversial pylon route in east Kent have been given the green light by the government, with construction expected to start in just weeks.

The project, known as the Richborough Connection, proposes the construction of a 20km 400kV overhead line and pylons, and the removal of an existing 132kV UK Power Networks overhead line.

It would carry power from Richborough, near Sandwich - which will be receiving electricity pumped in from Belgium via the Nemo Link - to an electricity sub station in Canterbury.

National Grid submitted the project for approval of the government’s planning inspectorate on January 14 last year, which was accepted a month later.

However, Thanet MPs Sir Roger Gale and Craig Mackinlay, as well as then-MP for Canterbury, Sir Julian Brazier, wrote to a number of senior government figures to express opposition, fearing it would “scar” the county’s landscape.

A decision by business secretary and Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark was expected in June, but officials then said a verdict would be delivered in August.

Steve Self, project manager of the Richborough Connection said: “We welcome the secretary of state’s decision to approve our application.

“We would like to thank everyone for their feedback during the consultation and examination process, and for giving us your views since the start of the project, which has enabled us to develop and improve our proposals.

“We look forward to continuing our relationships with local communities over the next few years during the construction of the project.”

The details of the construction programme are set to be finalised over the next few weeks before bosses carry out ground investigations in some areas along the route.

Construction is then expected to start next month, while project leaders insist they will be speaking with communities along the route.

“We assure landowners and residents that we will carry out the construction work responsibly and safely,” Mr Self added.

The new connection will be ready for Nemo Link’s connection date in two years, while the existing UK Power Networks line will be taken down between 2019 and 2021.

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