Skip to main content

Offshore Wind: East of England

Volume 741: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2023

17. Whether she is taking steps to support the development of an offshore grid for wind farm energy in the east of England. (900347)

Grid reinforcement is critical to delivering our world leading offshore wind targets. The electricity system operator is responsible for designing a modern grid that uses a mix of upgraded existing lines, offshore transmission networks and new underground and overhead lines to bring this low-cost, homegrown generation to consumers.

My constituents are angry about the ill-thought-out proposal by National Grid to impose 100 miles of pylons and overhead powerlines between Norwich and Tilbury. Will the Minister share with me, the House and my constituents what work he is doing to ensure that the Government do all they can to encourage National Grid and developers to build an offshore grid that will provide more investment and growth in renewables, and pull the plug on these awful pylons?

As my right hon. Friend knows, I visited East Anglia a few months ago and I plan to visit again. I hear the frustration and the concerns of her constituents, which she has brought to the House today. As she knows, the ESO remains responsible for electricity network design. Offshore routing is more expensive and the costs would be borne by consumers across the country. However, we will continue to engage with the ESO as it develops proposals that strike the balance of offshore and onshore infrastructure.

I call the spokesperson for the Scottish National party, who must have a great connection with the east of England.

It comes as a great relief that the Minister is listening, certainly to my constituents and his own. There are extraordinary levels of cheap green Scottish renewable energy transmitted to large consumers in industrial bases in the south by the network. This north-south transaction should rightly be done by subsea transmission cables, negating the need for onshore pylons and their attendant visual blight, environmental degradation, loss of productive farmland, costly compulsory purchase and wayleave charges. Why are Angus and other Scottish communities now threatened with a new 400 kV pylon line, instead of transmitting that energy south using subsea methods?

I think there would have been better questions. Time is a bit tight, but please answer the question, Minister.

The hon. Gentleman should probably direct that question to my Scottish Government counterparts, who are in the same party as him. He wants to ride roughshod over the Scottish planning system to allow for a faster deployment of this new energy infrastructure across Scotland, including in his and my own constituencies. The Scottish Government have control over planning, the ESO have control over developing those plans and—