The Sea Link Project
National Grid Electricity Transmission plc (NGET) will launch a statutory consultation on the proposed Sea Link project (‘the Project’), starting on 24 October 2023 and running until 23:59 on 18 December 2023.
About the project
The Project involves the reinforcement of the electricity transmission network between Suffolk and Kent, predominantly via an offshore High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) link, but with onshore elements to connect into the transmission network. The proposed Project is split into three key elements, as follows.
The Suffolk Onshore Scheme
- A connection from the existing transmission network via Friston Substation, including the substation itself. Friston Substation already has development consent as part of other third-party projects. If Friston Substation has already been constructed under another consent, only a connection into the substation would be constructed by the Sea Link project.
- A high voltage alternating current (HVAC) underground cable of approximately 1.7 km in length between the proposed Friston Substation and a proposed converter station (below).
- A 2 GW HVDC converter station up to 26 m high plus external equipment (such as lightning protection and railings for walkways) near Saxmundham.
- An HVDC underground cable connection of approximately 10 km in length between the proposed converter station near Saxmundham, and a transition joint bay (TJB) approximately 900 m inshore from a landfall point (below) where the cable transitions from onshore to offshore technology.
- A landfall on the Suffolk coast (between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness).
Our proposals in Suffolk have been developed for Sea Link as a standalone project, but also include opportunities to co-locate infrastructure for up to two further projects at the converter station, cable corridors and the landfall location.
The Offshore Scheme
- Approximately 130 km of subsea HVDC cable, running between the Suffolk landfall location (between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness), and the Kent landfall location at Pegwell Bay.
The Kent Onshore Scheme
- A landfall point on the Kent coast at Pegwell Bay.
- A TJB approximately 800 m inshore to transition from offshore HVDC cable to onshore HVDC cable, before continuing underground for approximately 2 km to a proposed new converter station (below).
- A 2 GW HVDC converter station, up to 26 m high plus external equipment (such as lightning protection and railings for walkways), near Minster. A new substation would be located immediately adjacent.
- Removal of approximately 1 km of existing HVAC overhead line, and installation of approximately 2.25 km of new HVAC overhead line from the converter station and substation near Minster and the existing Richborough to Canterbury overhead line.
The project also includes modifications to sections of existing overhead lines in Suffolk and Kent, diversions of third-party assets, and land drainage from the construction and operational footprint. It also includes opportunities for environmental mitigation, compensation and enhancement (such as hedgerow creation and native tree planting). The construction phase would involve various temporary construction activities including working areas for construction equipment and machinery, site offices, storage, accesses, bellmouths, and haul roads, as well as watercourse crossings and the diversion of public rights of way.
The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy directed on 31 March 2022 that the Project is to be treated as development for which development consent is required. NGET will therefore apply for a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the Secretary of State, now known as the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero (the “Secretary of State”) for the proposed Project. The development consent being sought will include a number of other provisions, including those which authorise the compulsory acquisition of land, and the compulsory acquisition of rights in, on or over land, if necessary, to construct, operate and maintain the proposed Project.
This letter is, therefore, notice that NGET is holding a consultation on the proposed Project under the Act. The consultation will run from Tuesday 24 October 2023 until 23:59 on Monday 18 December 2023 responses are invited on or before the closing date.
Responding to the consultation
During the consultation period, a series of public consultation events will be held where you can hear further details about the proposed Project and to speak with the project team. They include public information exhibitions, ‘ask the experts’ sessions and online webinars. A range of consultation materials are being made available, which provide further details of this consultation and proposals. These materials can be accessed via the online Document Library page of the project website, with paper copies of certain documents available from deposit points across the project area. For more information, please visit the project website, www.nationalgrid.com/sealink.
You are encouraged to respond to this consultation between 24 October 2023 and 18 December 2023. Responses can be submitted online at www.nationalgrid.com/sealink. Alternatively, you can return a printed copy of the response form (above) or a free text response via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to Freepost SEA LINK.
The proposals for the Project will be reviewed in light of the feedback received as part of this consultation and consideration if changes are needed to further reduce the effects on communities and the local area before the application is made for development consent.
Copies of representations may be made available to the Secretary of State, personal details will not be placed on the public record. Personal details will be held securely in accordance with the applicable data laws and will be used solely in connection with the consultation process and the development of this Project and, except as noted above, will not be disclosed to any third parties.