National Grid Infrastructure: East of England

Energy Security and Net Zero – in the House of Commons at on 28 November 2023.

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Photo of Giles Watling Giles Watling Conservative, Clacton

What discussions she has had with National Grid on its planned timetable for building new substations, pylons and cabling in the east of England.

Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

I frequently meet the network companies to discuss their important work developing our electricity transmission network. I have also been pleased to meet communities and MPs from East Anglia to discuss concerns about network infrastructure. However, as the decision maker for planning consents, the Department does not get involved in individual projects.

Photo of Giles Watling Giles Watling Conservative, Clacton

I feel moved to found a Clacton Day. Why not?

I have called for the old Bradwell site on the Dengie peninsula to be used for the arrival of undersea cables, as opposed to wrecking the environment of Essex and other areas with substations, pylons and so on. With the scrapping of High Speed 2 as an example, does my hon. Friend agree that public bodies now need to do a better job of assessing possible alternatives, instead of just barrelling forward with boatloads of taxpayers’ cash and destroying our beautiful countryside?

Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

I thank my hon. Friend for that question. As he knows from when we met to discuss this in June, the Electricity System Operator is responsible for planning the design and location of grid reinforcement, while transmission owners develop individual projects. I understand that Bradwell had been assessed but was not deemed appropriate for this project. However, I cannot comment on specific projects, in order to avoid prejudicing planning decisions. I would be very happy to meet my hon. Friend again to discuss this in further detail.