Campaigners fighting proposals for miles of pylons across Norfolk and Waveney have said they are on "tenterhooks" after suggestions the new chancellor could make it easier for such schemes to go ahead.

Rachel Reeves - who has previously given her backing to the pylon route - used her first speech in her new role to emphasise the need for growth to fix the UK's economy.

Chancellor Rachel ReevesChancellor Rachel Reeves (Image: Press Association) While she did not specifically mention pylons, the chancellor said the government would set new policy intentions for critical infrastructure in the coming months.

She said: "I know that there will be opposition to this. I’m not naive to that, and we must acknowledge that trade-offs always exist.

"Any development may have environmental consequences, place pressure on services and rouse voices of local opposition, but we will not succumb to a status quo which responds to the existence of trade-offs by always saying no."

Her comments have "alarmed" campaigners against National Grid's proposals for 114 miles of pylons from Norwich to Tilbury - including in the South Norfolk and Waveney Valley constituencies.

READ MORE: Norfolk County Council opposes Norwich to Tilbury pylons

Rosie PearsonRosie Pearson

Rosie Pearson, from campaign group Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk Pylons, said: "We are on tenterhooks, but from the messaging coming out, it is potentially alarming.

"It depends on how far she can go or wants to go. But I think it would be hard for her to make sweeping changes which would allow them to push pylons through.

"They would have to change an awful lot to make significant differences to the legislation and my gut feeling is that the rhetoric will be worse than the reality.

"But I know a lot of the campaigners are extremely worried."

Campaigners are opposing the pylon plansCampaigners are opposing the pylon plans (Image: Christine Murton)

Pylons were a major issue on the doorstep during elections in Waveney Valley and South Norfolk.

The Conservative manifesto was for a "rapid review into the advantages of alternative network technologies, compared to overhead pylons", while the Greens, who won in Waveney Valley, said they favoured an offshore solution.

Ms Reeves does not have a role in approving or blocking the scheme, but in an interview with this newspaper before the election, she supported the plan.

"We've got to crack on and build the energy infrastructure to heat our homes and get people's bills down," she said.

Labour's Ben Goldsborough, who won in South Norfolk, had said pylons were "not the way forward", but that he could not guarantee they would not be built.

Ben GoldsboroughBen Goldsborough (Image: Labour Party)

His party's drive to get national infrastructure built could set him at loggerheads with people within his constituency.

National Grid says the line, with 50-metre high pylons, is needed to carry electricity generated by North Sea wind farms.

Critics argue the power company has not properly considered alternatives, such as undersea cables.

Meanwhile, Adrian Ramsay, the new Green MP for Waveney Valley, restated his opposition, saying he wanted a “proper options assessment”.

The Green Party co-leader said: “What Green councillors in Suffolk have been arguing for for a long time now is that an alternative should be properly considered, such as having an offshore grid, as other countries do and as many organisations, including the Committee On Climate Change, have previously highlighted would be a good thing for the UK.

“So what I’m arguing for is a pause while the other options are considered, because of course we need the infrastructure; it’s a matter of doing it in the right way that has a long-term benefit.”

A spokesperson for National Grid said: “We need to progress the Norwich to Tilbury onshore project to be able to connect enough offshore wind to power every home in the country with more secure, renewable energy by 2030 and meet our legal obligation to connect offshore wind customers to the grid. 

“National Grid has carefully assessed several alternative options, including offshore.

"The proposals we have put forward include the regulatory and government policy requirements we must work within including having careful regard to the environmental impact of the technology we use alongside the most affordable option for electricity bill payers.

"Our latest proposals have been subject to and shaped by public consultation, including an option for undergrounding in the Waveney Valley.

"Delaying the Norwich to Tilbury project would delay homes and businesses in East Anglia and beyond, having access to cleaner and more affordable electricity in the long term."