Ralph Fiennes labels Suffolk energy hub plans a 'disaster'

1 week ago 18

Ralph FiennesImage source, Jeff Overs/BBC

Image caption,

Ralph Fiennes spoke passionately against plans to build substations in the Suffolk countryside

By Danny Fullbrook & PA Media

BBC News, Suffolk

Ralph Fiennes has slammed plans to build a new energy hub in the Suffolk countryside.

The actor previously appeared in a film campaigning against proposals to install substations and energy hubs near Aldeburgh.

During an impassioned appearance on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg he described the plans as a "disaster".

ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) and National Grid have both previously defended the plans.

An energy hub would be built at Friston and a convertor station near Saxmundham - with pylons used to transfer the power further inland.

Fiennes, who was born in Ipswich, said: "This will have a devastating negative impact on local communities, farming, fishing, tourism, when it can be done better."

Image source, Coast

Image caption,

The Suffolk-born actor has previously made a campaign film called Coast to back Suffolk Energy Action Solutions

In the interview, the actor revealed he was "quite shocked by what was being proposed by National Grid and Scottish Power".

He believes there "are better solutions" than the current plans by the energy firms, which he described as to "build a huge, massive super structure the size of 90 football pitches".

Suffolk Energy Action Solutions (SEAS) has previously argued a better option would be an offshore grid, with substations on brownfield sites, such as at Bradwell in Essex, and closer to demand.

The Harry Potter and James Bond actor said he was excited by what the "Belgians and the Danes are doing by these offshore infrastructures, which are then ecologically friendly, and they take their cabling onshore to a brownfield site, which is critical".

When Ms Kuenssberg asked Mr Fiennes about the expense of offshore sites, he said: "This is a long-term legacy for our country. This is the infrastructure going into the future.

"It might be more expensive in the short, in the mid-term we're convinced it's not. But this is really vital that we get this right."

Image source, Oliver Rosser

Image caption,

Fiennes will star alongside Indira Varma in a production of Macbeth

The 61-year-old added that he would continue campaigning as "it's not just about Suffolk, this resonates through the country, this is how this country goes forward in building our clean energy infrastructure".

"What is being proposed at the moment we think is a disaster," he said.

SPR previously said it was committed to helping to tackle climate change and it would look to protect "the local environment and minimise the potential onshore impacts of the construction programme".

National Grid said: "We recognise the scale of development related to the east coast and where projects are taken forward we work hard to engage with local communities and listen to their concerns."

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