Published: 12:45, 03 August 2017
The government has approved plans for dozens of 50 metre electricity pylons through the countryside around Canterbury despite fears they will "scar" the landscape.
The Secretary of State for Business , Energy and Industrial Strategy announced the decision today following a lengthy planning inquiry in which an inspector heard numerous objections to the proposals, including from the city council, county council, east Kent MPs and dozens of residents.
The Richborough Connection is part of a wider project, called the Nemo Link, submitted by the National Grid to exchange electricity with the Continent.
It will involve erecting dozens of new high voltage pylons between Richborough and the sub-station in Broad Oak Road, Canterbury, passing close by the villages of Sarre, Upstreet, Hersden, Westbere and Broad Oak.
National Grid says the connection will play a "vital role in ensuring that the country has a safe, reliable and secure electricity supply to keep the lights on".
Steve Self, Project Manager, Richborough Connection project said: “We welcome the decision to approve our application. We would like to thank everyone for your 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.
"Over the next few weeks we will be finalising the details of the construction programme, and carrying out ground investigations and other activity in some areas along the route.
"We expect to start construction in September 2017 and we will shortly be speaking with communities along the route about the construction programme. We assure landowners and residents that we will carry out the construction work responsibly and safely."
The new connection will be ready for Nemo Link’s connection date in late 2018, ready for the commissioning of the interconnector in 2019.
The existing UK Power Networks line will be taken down between 2019 and 2021.