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Pylons threat could ‘destroy our tourism’

Fears pylons could be marching across the landscape of East Lindsey have been voiced by the district council.

Following a meeting with the National Grid on Friday, East Lindsey District Council planners are concerned current proposals to site an electricity substation in the district could lead to an application for pylons from that site to connect to the National Grid at Bicker Fen.

ELDC leader Coun Doreen Stephenson, has described the prospect of this happening as ‘catastrophic’.

She said: “They have no concept of what this will do for our economy and the local landscape.”

RWE NPower Renewables has undertaken consultation in East Lindsey for the siting of the substation to carry energy generated by the proposed Triton Knoll off-shore wind farm.

Consultation ended this week on a shortlist of three potential sites for the substation at Monks Thorpe, west of Sloothby and Orby/Welton.

The company has said it would deliver the power generated by the wind farm to the National Grid via underground cables.

But there are fears National Grid could decide to build the pylons to connect the electricity to the area.

David Loveday, business manager for planning at ELDC, expects planning permission for this substation to be submitted early next year. He explains if the substation is given permission there are few options for where the pylons would connect to the National Grid at Bicker Fen.

Speaking at a meeting of Skegness area committee on Monday, he said: “Nothing has been fixed at all but it does not take an idiot to realise that there will be only one way of doing it and that will be to join points A and B and go for the cheapest option.”

Mr Loveday added: “Our concern is that by changing the landscape, by changing the feel and by changing the character you are going to have a harmful impact on the economy and the living and enjoyment of the area by visitors and also residents who live here all the time.”

Project manager at RWE NPower Renewables, Jacob Hain, said the second phase of public consultation for the Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm development is planned for spring 2011.

He said: “This will be a comprehensive consultation covering the whole of the development, including both onshore and offshore elements, in anticipation of the submission of our planning application to the Independent Planning Committee (IPC) later that year.”

The National Grid said: “As and when we receive definite proposals for offshore wind farms in the North Sea we will follow this process and consult local people, but at this stage plans are only on the drawing board.”

At the end of the meeting in Skegness, Coun Colin Davie, a district councillor and also a member of Lincolnshire County Council, issued this rallying call: “This is a real threat to anything that we have had in the past and anything that we hold dear in the future. It is essential we fight this.

“At the end of the day tourism and industry to East Lindsey is worth £450 million a year and that is growing. All of us who live here know that without tourism we will have social ghetto.”