FAQs

General Information

Who are National Grid?

National Grid Electricity Transmission, owns, builds and maintains the network in England and Wales. It is National Grid Electricity Transmission that is developing plans for the Bramford to Twinstead reinforcement and we are the electricity and transmission arm within National Grid.

Within the National Grid Group there are distinctly separate legal entities, each with their individual responsibilities and roles. More information about National Grid can be found on the ‘about us’ section of the consultation website.

What are National Grid’s policies when working in the UK?

National Grid’s commitments when undertaking works in the UK can be found in our stakeholder, community and amenity policy found here: commitments when undertaking works in the UK.

What is the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy?

BEIS (The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy), is a ministerial department looking to build a stronger, greener future through innovation.

Following the Prime Minister’s publishing of his Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution in December 2020, BEIS published an Energy white paper entitled Powering our net zero future, which sets out how the UK will clean up its energy system and reach net zero emissions by 2050. BEIS works alongside Ofgem and National Grid on Electricity System Operation.

What is Ofgem?

Ofgem (the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) is the government regulator for gas and electricity markets in Great Britain. Ofgem is a non-ministerial government department and an independent National Regulatory Authority, whose role is to protect consumers through delivering a greener, fairer, energy system. Ofgem works with Government, industry and consumer groups to help deliver a net zero economy at the lowest cost possible to consumers.

What is the Crown Estate?

The Crown Estate is an independent commercial business, created by an Act of Parliament, with a diverse portfolio of UK buildings, shoreline, seabed, forestry, agriculture and common land. The Crown Estate has worked alongside National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) and National Grid Electricity Transmission on studies regarding offshore wind development which will be significant in informing future policy choices on provision of offshore transmission infrastructure.

What is National Grid ESO?

National Grid ESO is the Electricity System Operator for the whole of Great Britain. Generators apply to National Grid ESO when they wish to connect to the network and National Grid ESO leads the work to consider how the network may need to evolve to deliver a cleaner greener future.

What is National Grid Ventures?

National Grid Ventures sit outside the core regulated businesses, investing in technologies and partnerships that help accelerate our move to a clean energy future. That includes interconnectors – connecting the UK with countries across the North Sea, allowing trade between energy markets and efficient use of renewable energy resources.

What are National Grid’s responsibilities within the electricity industry?

When developing transmission network proposals, we have a statutory duty, under the Electricity Act 1989, to act in an efficient, coordinated and economical way, and have regard to the desirability of preserving amenity.

When considering options to deliver additional network capability, we must balance the need to develop the network in a way that is efficient, coordinated and economical, and minimises impacts on people and places.

How is National Grid regulated?

In the UK, energy networks are regulated by Ofgem. Ofgem operate under the direction and governance of the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (GEMA). It has established price control mechanisms to ensure that the investment required to maintain a reliable and secure network is delivered at a fair price for consumers.

Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and as such, we are also regulated by the Financial Services Authority in the UK.

Electricity Generation and Transmission

What are energy generators and energy suppliers?

Generators produce electricity from renewables such as wind and solar, and from more traditional power stations run on nuclear and gas. They then trade electricity to suppliers on a half hourly basis. Electricity is also traded between neighbouring countries using interconnectors. Suppliers buy the electricity in the wholesale market and supply to end customers.

What is offshore wind?

Offshore wind is a way of harnessing the potential of the North Sea for electricity generation.

The government’s Energy White Paper in December 2020 sets a target to deploy 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030 – enough to power every home.

The Climate Change Committee anticipate that electricity demand will at least double by 2050 as we shift to clean energy to drive electric vehicles, heat our homes and power our industry.

The Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget published in December 2020 recommends deploying 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030, rising to 140 GW of offshore wind by 2050.

This unprecedented level of offshore wind – four times more than the world leading levels we have today – will require major development of both the onshore and offshore electricity networks to accommodate it.

What are interconnectors?

Interconnectors are High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) cables that are used to connect the electricity systems of neighbouring countries. They allow electricity to be traded between the GB market and the continent, ensuring energy resources are used efficiently, benefiting consumers and reducing emissions.

National Grid Ventures already operate interconnectors linking Britain with France, Belgium and the Netherlands – powering five million homes with clean energy each year. Two more are under construction to connect us with Norway and Denmark. By 2030 90% of the energy imported by our interconnectors will be from zero carbon energy sources.

We already have interconnectors linking us to France, Belgium and the Netherlands and each year they power five million homes with clean energy. National Grid Ventures is working on two more interconnectors to link us with Norway and Denmark, and by 2030 90% of the energy imported by our interconnectors will be from zero carbon energy sources.

Find out more about how interconnectors will in future potentially also connect offshore wind farms https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPlzi7UqIUM.

How is the need for reinforcement identified?

National Grid ESO lead an annual process which looks at network capability requirements with input from Transmission Owners. This process identifies deficiencies in the future network and provides cost effective solutions to rectify those, in line with the framework set by government and Ofgem, the regulator.

How does National Grid help the UK’s journey to net zero?

The Government has made it clear that a key part of recovery is building back cleaner and greener. The UK has set a world-leading target to tackle climate change, which is to achieve Net Zero by 2050. Put simply, this means that we remove the same amount of greenhouse gas from the atmosphere as we produce.

Growth in energy generated from offshore wind is a key part of achieving Net Zero and the Government’s Energy White Paper sets an ambitious target to deliver 40 GW of offshore wind connected to the network by 2030 – enough to power every home in the UK. Growth in offshore wind also offers significant opportunities for economic growth and job creation. There are up to 60,000 jobs expected to be created in the offshore wind sector alone in this decade and up to 250,000 jobs by 2030 across the proposals in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

The Climate Change Committee anticipate that electricity demand will at least double by 2050 as we shift to clean energy to drive electric vehicles, heat our homes and power our industry.

The Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget published in December 2020 recommends deploying 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030, rising to 140 GW of offshore wind by 2050.

By 2050, our own analysis indicates that the energy sector needs to fill around 400,000 jobs to build the Net zero energy workforce.

Our mission at National Grid is support these aims. We believe by acting now, the UK can become the world’s first major clean economy, with net zero carbon emissions by 2050, creating growth and jobs for communities across Britain.

Bramford to Twinstead

What is the Bramford to Twinstead connection?

The Bramford to Twinstead transmission connection is a new 400,000 volt (400kV) electricity connection between Bramford substation, west of Ipswich in Suffolk and Twinstead, south of Sudbury in Essex.

The route can be seen below:

Bramford Twinstead Route

Why did National Grid put the project on hold?

Between 2009 and 2013 work was previously undertaken to develop proposals to add this much needed network capability between Bramford and Twinstead Tee. Several rounds of extensive consultation were undertaken, and many meetings held with community representatives, council officers and environmental bodies. Changes back then to when planned new generation would come online in East Anglia, in particular Sizewell C, meant that work was put on hold at the end of 2013.

Did the consultation responses from 2009-2013 have any impact on the proposals?

Yes, feedback from stakeholders and the local community was a key influence on the development of major aspects of our proposals including:

  • the selection of the route corridor 2;
  • the proposed removal of 25 kilometres of existing UK Power Networks 132kV line;
  • the identification of two areas, making up around a quarter of the route (approximately 8 kilometres), where the high cost of putting cables underground was considered justifiable for the proposed 400kV line – through Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Stour Valley;
  • the identification of a location for a sealing end compound at the western end of the route, where the underground cables proposed in the Stour Valley would re-join the overhead line between Twinstead Tee and Braintree; and
  • the identification of a suitable location for a new substation west of Twinstead and south of Sudbury, to keep the local area supplied with electricity whilst allowing the 132kV to be taken down.
What will Bramford to Twinstead include today?
  • constructing approximately 27 km 400 kV electricity transmission connection between Bramford Substation in Suffolk to Twinstead Tee in Essex, comprising 19 km of overhead line and 8km of underground cable (4km through the Dedham Vale AONB and 4 km in the Stour Valley)
  • constructing four cable sealing ends at the points where overhead lines meet underground cables
  • removing 25km of existing 132 kV overhead line operated by UK Power Networks, between Burstall Bridge (approximately 2.5 km south of Bramford Substation) and the diamond crossing.
  • constructing a new substation at Butlers Wood to enable the removal of UK Power Network’s 132 kV overhead line. A new substation is needed to maintain the electricity supply to local homes and businesses
  • removing around 1 km of the existing Bramford to Braintree to Rayleigh 400 kV overhead line south of Twinstead Tee
  • constructing an alternative alignment for the existing 400 kV line around Hintlesham Woods to allow the new line to adopt the current route through the woods.
Why is it needed?

A new route is needed between Bramford and Twinstead Tee because there are three double circuit overhead lines carrying the power generated elsewhere into Bramford (one from Norwich to the north and two from Sizewell to the east), but west of Bramford out to Twinstead Tee there is only one carrying power out of the region.

With substantial new sources of energy connecting in the region by the end of the decade, the existing overhead line carrying circuits west from Bramford to Pelham and from Bramford to Braintree/Rayleigh/Tilbury, would be overloaded.

Installing a new line (two circuits) between Bramford and Twinstead Tee, allows the network to be reconfigured to create two separate double circuit routes that will avoid overloading the existing circuits and will provide flexibility and agility in the way the network interacts.

Bramford Twinstead Map

Why not reinforce Bramford in other directions? Have you considered other options for Bramford to Twinstead?

The line running west from Bramford to Twinstead is the main bottleneck on the network and without reinforcing this part of the network the ability to transport power out of the region will be significantly constrained.

We have checked again to see whether there may be more appropriate strategic options to address the network bottleneck between Bramford and Twinstead Tee. You can read more about our review in the Project Development Options Report.

23 strategic options in and around Bramford that might achieve the required reinforcement have been examined, including the original options considered in 2009. These included:

  • doing no physical works;
  • re-directing proposed connections;
  • maximising existing connections;
  • reinforcing north of Bramford with new 400 kV network infrastructure;
  • reinforcing south of Bramford with new 400 kV network infrastructure;
  • bypassing Bramford with new 400 kV network infrastructure; and
  • reinforcing west of Bramford with new 400 kV network infrastructure.

Those that would not fully address the constraint or meet the Security of Supply Standard were discounted. We also discounted others that would not offer some material benefit over another option, for example, more expensive options which would provide the same network capacity.

As there are other electricity transmission reinforcements needed on the east coast of the UK to deliver 40GW of offshore wind by 2030, why can’t you place Bramford to Twinstead entirely underground?

We are required under the Electricity Act 1989, to find a balance, developing proposals that are efficient, coordinated and economical, and which have regard to the desirability of preserving amenity. Each network upgrade must be considered on its individual merits, as required in planning law. Underground lines are significantly more costly which would be passed to bill payers, they also cause greater disturbance and land take during construction and are more difficult to maintain.

 

The total estimated capital cost of the proposed scheme is approximately £363m. Of that, overhead line costs account for approximately £78m. Underground cables, including cable sealing ends account for approximately £245m. Substation works are £40m of which £27m is the new grid supply point at Butlers Wood.

Who owns the smaller 132 kV overhead line and is that used? Will that stay and will there be three overhead lines when you build the new 400 kV line?

The smaller 132 kV overhead line is part of the UKPN local distribution network. The larger 400 kV line is a key part of our electricity transmission network. We have agreed with UKPN that 25km of the existing 132 kV line will be removed to make way for the new 400 kV reinforcement. To ensure the local area continues to be supplied safely and securely with electricity, we would build a new substation adjacent to Butler’s Wood off the A131 south of Sudbury. This would allow us to replace UKPN’s existing overhead line with our new one, resulting in no increase in the number of lines through the area, albeit with their smaller line replaced with our larger one and some deviations to the current alignment.

If Sizewell C experiences further delays, will this mean that reinforcement at Bramford to Twinstead is no longer needed?

No, there are a number of projects looking to connect in East Anglia over the next decade. These include new interconnectors such as Eurolink and Nautilus, offshore wind farms such as Hornsea Project 3 and North Falls and Five Estuaries. If Sizewell experiences any further delays, the reinforcement between Bramford to Twinstead will still be needed.

If further offshore coordination goes ahead from 2025, would the Bramford to Twinstead reinforcement still be needed?

The Bramford to Twinstead project is required to resolve a critical bottleneck on the onshore network to support power exporting from East Anglia and ensure we can continue to operate a safe, compliant and economic transmission network. This means the project is required regardless of offshore co-ordination, as there will still be a significant increase in the levels of power being brought onshore as we move towards the Government’s ambition of connecting 40GW of offshore wind by 2030.

It should be noted that the requirement for the Bramford to Twinstead project is not only to facilitate offshore wind and interconnector projects, but also critical infrastructure to enable the safe, compliant and reliable connection of the new Sizewell C nuclear power station, which is not enabled by the offshore co-ordination project.

Why are you not proposing to go offshore or subsea rather than developing overhead lines?

We have considered carefully the cost of alternative options when putting forward our proposal and we are developing proposals for an offshore link to Kent to provided additional network capacity in this region. SEA Link will be needed in addition to the proposed reinforcement between Bramford and Twinstead.

What happens if you don’t reinforce the network between Bramford and Twinstead?

National Grid ESO explain in the Network Options Assessment (NOA) 2020/21 that Bramford to Twinstead is ‘critical’ in all future energy scenarios. It is a vital reinforcement of a key bottleneck on our network that is needed to transport cleaner greener energy from offshore wind, from new nuclear at Sizewell C and interconnectors with countries across the North Sea.

If the reinforcement is not delivered when it is needed, National Grid ESO would have to instruct and pay these new sources of energy not to generate to keep the transmission network compliant without Bramford to Twinstead. As the reinforcement is a key contributor to the UK Government’s commitment of achieving 40GW of offshore wind by 2030 – it is vital for 30 GW by 2030 – not having it in place in time would compromise the Government’s targets for offshore wind.

Paying cleaner greener generation not to generate to ensure the network is not overloaded, which is known as constraint costs, may also necessitate paying other fossil fuel generation to generate in parts of the country where the electricity is required. The net effect of that is significantly higher costs to operate the network, which is ultimately paid for by consumers through their bills, in addition to compromising the Government’s renewable energy targets.

We also cannot connect Sizewell C without the Bramford to Twinstead reinforcement as the network could not be operated in a safe and stable way.

Why was this route option chosen?

In 2009, we presented four route corridor options for consultation. After carefully considering all the feedback received and taking into account findings from environmental and technical surveys, we selected this route as our preferred option. We have set out the options that were considered and why we feel that this option is the right one to take forward in our Project Development Options Report

We also considered where the impact of a new overhead connection would be particularly significant and are proposing to build approximately 8km of underground cables in two locations.

We will also take down a line of existing pylons owned by UK Power networks that runs along the same route.

We believe that our proposals strike the right balance between a number of important considerations, including affordability to bill-payers and the impact of the new connection on the landscape.

How tall will the proposed pylons be?

 We anticipate using standard steel lattice pylons, similar to the design of pylons used on the existing 400 kV line. They will be approximately 50 meters in height.

What are cable sealing end compounds?

Cable sealing end compounds are where a high-voltage underground cables join onto an overhead line, the transition from one to the other requires termination points, known as sealing end compounds.

Why are you proposing to have overhead lines rather than underground lines?

When developing proposals for new network infrastructure we must consider all our statutory duties and licence obligations. These obligations include considering impacts on the environment, preserving amenity and to be economic, coordinated and efficient.

Underground lines are substantially more costly which would be passed to bill payers, require greater disturbance and land take during construction and are difficult to maintain. We will consult publicly and seek views on our proposals. We will carefully consider feedback to understand if there is anything else, we should take into account before finalising our plans.

What is the additional cost of undergrounding the lines?

The total estimated capital cost of the proposed scheme is approximately £363m. Of that, overhead line costs account for approximately £78m. Underground cables, including cable sealing ends at £5m each, account for approximately £245m. Substation works are £40m of which £27m is the new grid supply point at Butlers Wood.

The additional cost of undergrounding in this instance, for example, at the Stour Valley compared to using overhead lines, is £118m. The additional cost of undergrounding the Dedham Vale compared to using overhead lines is £107m. To use overhead lines throughout the route would cost £142m, compared to the cost of a fully undergrounded scheme, which would cost £694m.

Undergrounding between the two currently proposed sections of underground cable at Dedham Vale AONB and the Stour Valley would add approximately £96m to the overall cost, which includes the cost saving from not building two sealing end compounds.

The duties placed on us by the Electricity Act 1989 require a balance to be struck between the visual impact on the landscape and the cost to electricity bill-payers, so we must consider every case for installing cables underground on its merits.

Cases for installing cables underground could include locations where it would be physically difficult to build an overhead line (such as in urban areas), wide river or estuary crossings, and highly valued landscapes. These may include National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or other places where the potential impact of a new electricity connection could only be mitigated by putting it underground.

Will the outcome of this consultation mean that underground lines are no longer proposed through the Stour Valley?

When previous work on the project was paused in 2013, we had outlined where we were minded to install sections of the new line below ground – this included installing two sections of underground cables in the Dedham Vale AONB and in the Stour Valley.

As we look to re-start work on the proposals again, we believe it is right to re-start consultation with a reminder of the proposals as at the project pause in 2013, with two sections of undergrounding. Given the passage of time, we will be inviting feedback afresh on the shape of the proposals and comments on the assumptions underpinning those proposals and whether the right balance is being struck.

What is required to support the case for undergrounding in the Stour Valley?

We will be carefully considering the feedback we receive from the two rounds of public consultation that we will carry out before submitting any application for a Development Consent Order.  The contents of that application will have to be fully justified and the evidence base will need to underpin that justification.  From the work undertaken previously, we had reached the view that there was a case for undergrounding a section in the Stour Valley. However, we will need to invite feedback afresh on the entirety of our proposals before taking any decisions.

What is horizontal directional drilling?

Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) is a method of installing underground pipelines, cables through trenchless methods. It involves the use of a directional drilling machine to accurately drill along the chosen bore path and install the required cable.

Why can horizontal directional drilling not be used for the entirety of the underground route?

Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) has distance limitations and as depth of installation increases, the cables need to spaced wider apart to allow heat to dissipate. At Dollops Wood, where it is being considered, topography and geology also make HDD very challenging. That is why an alternative underground cable route north around Dollops Wood is also being considered.

Can you commit to maximising undergrounding of the route and screening of associated infrastructure (e.g. substations)?

On the question of undergrounding and the framework set by Government and the Regulator, that framework has not changed.  It remains as it was in 2013 and the Regulator rightly expects the justification for the additional cost of mitigation to be very clearly demonstrated, whatever the mitigation may be.  When developing proposals for new network infrastructure, we are required by duties set out in the Electricity Act 1989, to find a balance, developing proposals that are efficient, coordinated and economical, and which have regard to the desirability of preserving amenity.  That requirement is clearly outlined in National Policy Statement EN5, which also has not changed.

Can you underground more of the line, particularly around listed buildings?

When the previous work was paused in 2013 we outlined where we were minded to install overhead cables and underground lines after all of the consultation carried out up to that point. This took into consideration the surrounding context including listed buildings.

Now that work on the project is re-started, we will be inviting feedback afresh on the shape of the proposals and comments on the assumptions underpinning those proposals and whether the right balance is being struck.

What if people are willing to pay extra to put proposed new overhead lines underground?

 The willingness to pay the additional cost for undergrounding cables is a decision for society and Government, not National Grid. When looking at the costs of a new connection, National Grid is guided by the laws, policies and regulations that have been set by Government on behalf of electricity consumers and society. We are required through those to balance affordability to the electricity bill-payer with the impact of our proposals on the landscape. It is for the Government, through the planning process, to judge if we have got the balance right.

Since 2013, what research has National Grid done to identify how to reduce costs of undersea connections and undergrounding in general?

We have reviewed the costs of our proposals for Bramford to Twinstead, including the cost of the undergrounding. Information about that is included in our Project Background Document. 

The total estimated capital cost of the proposed scheme is approximately £363m. Of that, overhead line costs account for approximately £78m. Underground cables, including cable sealing ends at £5m each, account for approximately £245m. Substation works are £40m of which £27m is the new grid supply point at Butlers Wood.

National Grid ESO explain in the Network Options Assessment 2020/21 that viable offshore options do not displace the onshore reinforcements that have been identified in the NOA, which includes Bramford to Twinstead.

The Network Options Assessment identifies a number of other reinforcements in the area, what is happening with those routes?

The reinforcement between Bramford and Twinstead is one of a number of network reinforcements needed to deliver 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030. Additional onshore reinforcements identified in the region in the Network Options Assessment (NOA) published in January 2021 are needed to deliver on the Government’s increased target of 40 GW of offshore wind connected by 2030. Those have only just been identified and we have work to do, to look at options before we will be in a position to discuss emerging thoughts about those. Bramford to Twinstead has been identified by National Grid ESO as a ‘critical’ reinforcement in all future energy scenarios.

Stakeholders will be consulted on all proposals to reinforce other parts of the network as and when they progress.

Government Policy

The Government is currently consulting on increasing the level of coordination in offshore electricity infrastructure, should National Grid not wait for the outcome of the review?

The Government has shown a clear commitment to developing further offshore wind at scale. The Energy White Paper in December 2020 sets a target to deploy 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030 – enough to power every home. Demand will grow as we shift to clean energy to drive electric vehicles, heat our homes and power our industry. This unprecedented level of offshore wind – four times more than the world leading levels we have today – will require major development of both the onshore and offshore electricity networks to accommodate it.

We welcome the Government’s Offshore Transmission Network Review which seeks to address these challenges. It is important that this review moves at pace and we fully support that, but as Government has also set out, it is equally important that 40 GW of offshore wind is connected by 2030.

Government explain in the Energy White Paper that they will redesign the current regime to incentivise more extensive coordination and minimise environmental, social and economic costs for the 2030s and beyond. Our proposals for the connection between Bramford to Twinstead needs to be in place before then, to deliver on the 2030 target and transport clean green energy to where it is needed.

Given the scale of development required to achieve Net Zero, with up to 75 GW of offshore wind connected to the transmission network by 2050, careful planning and coordination is certainly needed, alongside significant investment, to ensure the necessary electricity transmission infrastructure is delivered in a way which minimises impacts on local communities.

The proposed HVDC link will increase capacity and capability in the network and is needed to carry clean green energy by the end of this decade. As renewable energy connects from offshore, potentially in a more coordinated way, that green energy must be transported in the most optimum way possible. Reinforcing Bramford to Twinstead with represents the most optimum solution.

If the Government wishes to achieve 40 GW of electricity generation from offshore wind by 2030, essential network reinforcements like this HVDC link must proceed.

Why are you developing plans to reinforce the network here when the Crown Estate, National Grid ESO and government are all currently looking at greater coordination? Is it more suitable to build an offshore ring main instead and await the outcome of that coordination work before taking forward any proposals to reinforce the network?

We welcome the Government’s Offshore Transmission Network Review, which seeks to address these challenges.

The Government has shown a clear commitment to developing further offshore wind at scale. The Energy White Paper in December 2020 sets a target to deploy 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030 – enough to power every home.

The Bramford to Twinstead project is required to resolve a critical bottleneck on the onshore network to support power exporting from East Anglia and ensure we can continue to operate a safe, compliant and economic transmission network. This means the project is required regardless of offshore co-ordination, as there will still be a significant increase in the levels of power being brought onshore as we move towards the Government’s ambition of connecting 40GW of offshore wind by 2030.

Community

How will Bramford to Twinstead benefit the community?

As the Government explain in the Energy White Paper, fighting climate change offers huge opportunity for growth and job creation. East Anglia is perfectly placed to embrace the economic opportunities that these cleaner greener sources of energy will provide. The potential is there to be massive winners for investment, skills, training and real jobs – directly and indirectly in the growing supply chain.

Of course, it is vital too, that we carefully plan and coordinate the significant investment and necessary onshore network infrastructure to ensure that is delivered in a way which minimises the impacts on communities. We believe that building this connection between Bramford and Twinstead represents the most appropriate solution to deliver additional network capacity while also minimising impacts on people and the environment.

At National Grid we are investing around £1.3billion every year, wiring up our communities to the next generation clean electricity network, so that every household can be powered by renewable energy by 2030. Where we are delivering those network investments, aside from opportunities for local suppliers, we work with schools and local authorities to encourage the next generation of engineers and help the long term unemployed develop new skills. On our Hinkley Connection project we are running an adult skills programme helping local unemployed people develop the skills and qualifications that will help them find new jobs.

We also have a £150 million warm home fund, helping the 4 million fuel poor households across the UK to heat their homes – so while we work on the technology to clean our heating, we can support everyone to get by on the technology of today.

Will the construction and the running of the substation bring any new jobs to the area?

Whilst our substations generally are operated remotely and require maintenance rather than operational personnel routinely on site, our Bramford substation is a local operational team base location. There are also huge opportunities in the renewable energy sector that our proposals support.

As the Government explain in the Energy White Paper, fighting climate change offers huge opportunity for growth and job creation. The global markets for low-carbon technologies, electric vehicles and clean energy are fast growing. The Government estimate zero emission vehicles could support 40,000 jobs by 2030 and 40 GW of offshore wind in the same period will support up to 60,000 jobs. Altogether the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan sets out a vision that will support up to 250,000 jobs by 2030 and see every home in the country powered by offshore wind. Our own analysis in our Job That Can’t Wait report, shows that the country needs to fill 400,000 jobs in the energy sector in the next three decades to deliver Net Zero by 2050.

At National Grid we are investing around £1.3billion every year, wiring up our communities to the next generation clean electricity network, so that every household can be powered by renewable energy by 2030. Where we are delivering those network investments, aside from opportunities for local suppliers, we work with schools and local authorities to encourage the next generation of engineers and help the long term unemployed develop new skills.

When operating in an area, we have a Community Grant Programme which offers grants to local community groups and charities. This allows local charities and not-for-profit groups to apply for support for community-based initiatives that deliver social, economic, or environmental benefits.

More information can be found on our website’s Community Grant Programme page.

Will any of the electricity transported through this line be used to service the local area?

Yes, the Bramford to Twinstead connection is essential to support the growth in clean green energy from North Sea offshore wind. We will all benefit from that clean green energy and some will be consumed in East Anglia.

Has National Grid considered the effects on Suffolk’s tourism industry?

We recognise that landscape and scenic qualities are part of the attraction of some tourist destinations and that a development can have an adverse effect on these qualities, and this was taken into account when we developed our proposals to build the connection underground through the Dedham Vale AONB and part of the Stour Valley.

How will the local community benefit?

When operating in an area, we have a Community Grant Programme which offers grants to local community groups and charities. This allows local charities and not-for-profit groups to apply for support for community-based initiatives that deliver social, economic, or environmental benefits.

More information can be found on our website’s Community Grant Programme page.

Environmental Impact

How will the Bramford to Twinstead reinforcement contribute to the Government’s 2050 Net Zero targets for a sustainable future?

 As the UK looks to accelerate its economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic, strategic infrastructure solutions such as those proposed along the east coast can help ensure that the UK continues to deliver strong, sustainable growth.

The Bramford to Twinstead Reinforcement Project is one of the essential network reinforcements needed to deliver on the UK’s net zero target – without it, cleaner, greener energy generated offshore would not be able to be transported to homes and businesses across the country.

How will National Grid minimise the impact of the pylons on the environment and local ecology?

At the beginning of each project and as we plan the work, we carefully consider potential environmental effects to make sure that we minimise or avoid potential impacts on the environment as much as we can.

We will be consulting with the local councils in Suffolk and Essex with the Environment Agency, Natural England, Historic England, and landowners. What these groups tell us and the feedback we receive through the consultations will help us to carefully plan our proposals and how we carry out the works.

Has there been any investigation into the local wildlife that may be impacted by the construction, particularly in Dedham vale AONB?

We’ve carefully considered the location of nationally and internationally designated areas in the work undertaken to date and we have not identified any international wildlife sites within the preferred corridor.

There are designated sites within the vicinity of the proposed development area including: Dedham Vale AONB, Hintlesham Woods (Designated as a Site of Specific Scientific Interest for its ancient seminatural woodland habitat and associated bird communities); and over 20 county/local wildlife sites.

Protected and priority species have been identified within and adjacent to the preferred alignment of the route connection and proposed substation site. These species include but are not limited to: bats; badger; brown hare; dormouse; water vole; otter; reptiles; amphibians, including great crested newts; European eel and a range of bird species.

We will carry out a full Environmental Impact Assessment to consider any potential impacts and how best to mitigate or reduce them.

Can the route be diverted away from Dedham Vale the AONB?

In 2009, we presented four route corridor options for consultation, included two that routed the new connection away from the Dedham Vale AONB.

After carefully considering all the feedback received and taking into account findings from environmental and technical surveys, we selected this route as our preferred option. We have set out the options that were considered and why we feel that this option is the right one to take forward in our Route Corridor Study Report/Connection Option Report.

How will National Grid respond to criticisms that the construction of pylons will ruin the scenic landscape of the surrounding Suffolk countryside?

When developing proposals for new network infrastructure we must consider all our statutory duties and licence obligations. These obligations include considering impacts on the environment, preserving amenity and to be economic, coordinated and efficient.

We have carefully considered the feedback received during earlier consultations, the alternatives available and other factors which need to be taken into account, including affordability to electricity bill payers and the impact of the new connection on the landscape. We believe that building an overhead line route and placing two sections of the cable underground strikes the right balance and is the right option to take forward. Building the entire length of the connection underground would add considerable additional costs to the project which we do not think we could justify.

Will burying the electricity transmissions lines at the two identified sites on the route have an adverse and disruptive impact on the local ecology?

We will carry out a full Environmental Impact Assessment to consider any potential impacts and how best to mitigate or reduce them.

Health

What are EMFs?

EMFs are electric and magnetic fields. Electric fields are produced by voltage and magnetic fields by current flowing through a conductor. Overhead lines are a source of two fields: the electric field (produced by the voltage) and the magnetic field (produced by the current). Underground cables eliminate the electric field altogether as it is screened out by the sheath around the cable, but they still produce magnetic fields.

Where do EMFs occur?

Background EMFs are present in most homes. They come from the house wiring, electrical appliances and the low-voltage distribution cables that carry electricity along streets.

What are the health risks associated with living in close proximity to overhead lines/underground cables?

At National Grid, all of our equipment is designed to comply with the Government Guidelines and policies for Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs). National Grid fully recognises people’s concerns and takes this issue very seriously. National Grid relies on authoritative and independent scientific organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) to review the worldwide body of scientific evidence on EMFs and health.

National Grid has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the proposed overhead line. As far as EMFs are concerned, we discharge that responsibility by ensuring that our network complies with any appropriate independent safety standards, i.e., the exposure limits advised by the HPA and adopted by Government. For further information visit  www.emfs.info.

Is it safe to bury cables underground?

High-voltage underground cables produce magnetic fields in the same way that overhead lines do, although the fields fall more quickly with distance as you move away from the cable. Directly above an underground cable there will often be a higher magnetic field than will be found under an equivalent overhead line. Irrespective of the technology used National Grid will always ensure that all of its equipment is designed to comply with any appropriate safety standards i.e. the exposure limits advised by Public Health England and adopted by Government.

What measures does National Grid take to ensure the public is protected from the effects of EMFs?

National Grid takes the issue of health very seriously. We believe it is right that the decision on what is acceptable or not is made independently of industry. Accordingly, we design all our equipment, overhead lines, cables and substations to comply with Public Health England’s recommended exposure guidelines. A vast amount of research has been done into the possibility of health effects, without establishing any risks below these levels.

What are the distances to property and exposures that are acceptable for people and animals who will have to live beside the line, and/or is there a prescribed minimum distance between properties and overhead lines?

UK law does not prescribe any minimum distance between overhead lines and homes. National Grid complies with guidelines set by the government regarding exposure to electric and magnetic fields.

National Grid regards compliance with these as a key part of ensuring the health and safety of the public. Both fields diminish rapidly with distance from the source and National Grid are committed to openly documenting compliance with these guideline levels and submitted as part to the consent application. to ensure that exposure levels at local properties are within the guideline levels.

What impact do EMFs have on wildlife and animals?

The research that has been done on the impact of EMFs on wildlife and farm animals reveals no evidence that EMFs have a harmful effect on animals. This is reconfirmed in Title – Electric and Magnetic Fields: November 2019 National Policy Statement EN-5 which states: “There is little evidence that exposure of crops, farm animals or natural ecosystems to transmission line EMFs has any agriculturally significant consequences.”

How will you protect the environment?

At the beginning of each project and as we plan the work, we carefully consider potential environmental effects to make sure that we minimise or avoid potential impacts on the environment as best we can. We are consulting with the local councils in Suffolk and Essex, with the Environment Agency, Natural England, Historic England and landowners. What these groups tell us and the feedback we receive through the consultations will help us to carefully plan our proposals and how we carry out the works.

Construction

What is the latest timeline for Bramford to Twinstead?
MilestoneStartFinish
EIA ScopingSpring 2021
Non-statutory consultationSpring 2021Spring 2021
Statutory consultationAutumn/Winter 2021Winter 2021
DCO submissionAutumn 2022
DCO examination and decisionAutumn 2022Spring 2024
Discharge requirementsSpring 2024Summer 2024
ConstructionSummer 2024Winter 2028

 

How we generate energy has changed significantly, yet how we transport it has not. Is National Grid using up-to-date technology?

Yes, we are committed to using proven up-to-date technology. In the way we manage the network and in the design of these proposals, we are using all the latest technological solutions.

When we build new transmission infrastructure, we assess a range of potential options. This will include different technology options. Each of the options that are technically feasible are appraised considering a range of factors, which includes an appraisal of technical challenges, cost, system benefit, deliverability, environmental and socio-economic factors.

Before progressing the reinforcement between Bramford and Twinstead we looked at 23 options, including new HVDC offshore cables. It was concluded that those options would not fully address the constraint or meet the Security of Supply Standard.

What will the impact be on local traffic?

To make sure we minimise disruption to the local community, we will develop a Construction Traffic Management Plan in consultation with the Highway Authorities along the route. We will make more information available at our consultation next year when we will be inviting feedback on detailed proposals.

When it comes to construction, we will provide clear signage to make sure our construction traffic uses the agreed route and stays within the speed limit for construction traffic.

We emphasise to our employees and contractors the special care that they need to take when driving to and from the areas we are working in.

How will the noise of the construction impact local residents?

Some of the work that needs to be done may generate some noise locally where the works are taking place. This should be very limited and will be carefully controlled and monitored to make sure it stays within the levels permitted under the Development Consent Order.

Will the construction result in air pollution that will disrupt local residents?

To make sure we minimise disruption to the local community a Construction Environmental Management Plan will be developed in consultation with the local Environmental Health Officers. Measures will be employed to ensure dust suppression is in place where required.

What will you be doing to mitigate the impact from HGVs on the local road network?

To make sure we minimise disruption to the local community a Construction Traffic Management Plan will be developed in consultation with the Highway Authorities along the route. When it comes to construction, we will provide clear signage to make sure our construction traffic uses the agreed route and stays within the speed limit for construction traffic. We emphasise to our employees and contractors the special care that they need to take when driving to and from the areas we are working in.

Will there be local power cuts or interruptions to our electricity supply whilst the works are carried out?

No. The work will have no impact on your electricity supply. The work that we need to carry out is on part of the national transmission system and will have no direct effect on homes, businesses, schools and other premises in the local area.

What will we see when you are doing the work?

You will see our traffic management signs and vehicles on the roads where we need to access the works.

Our vehicles and equipment will be in the fields along the route of the new connection.

Will you be closing any roads or footpaths?

For the safety of members of the public and our contractors we may need to close some temporarily. These will be agreed with the local authorities and clearly communicated to local people.

Do you need to access my land?

We will contact landowners and occupiers to arrange access for environmental surveys to help inform how we develop our proposals.

Wherever we need to carry out surveys on private land, a member of our Land team or our agents will contact landowners and occupiers to discuss the type of surveys, the timing and duration before we start.

We look to agree access routes with owners and occupiers beforehand and comply with reasonable requirements for access and working practices.

If you own or occupy land where our works are proposed and wish to get in touch with our Land team about any aspects, you can contact them by phone on 01452 889000 or email: bramford-twinstead@brutonknowles.co.uk.

Timelines

When will the consultation begin again?

Our non-statutory consultation has now closed; however, our project email and telephone information line remain open.
We are currently considering all the feedback from this consultation to as we review and further develop our plans.

Later in the year we will carry out a further formal stage of consultation on our detailed proposals, as required by the Planning Act 2008 (as amended), before submitting a DCO application in 2022.

How long was the project on hold for?

We put the project on hold in November 2013.

What stage is the project in now?

The non-statutory consultation ran from 25th March to 6th May. We are currently considering all the feedback from this consultation to as we review and further develop our proposals ahead of a further formal stage of consultation on detailed proposals later this year.

When is construction planned to start and finish?

We anticipate construction will take around 4.5 years, starting in Summer 2024 and concluding in Winter 2028.

What will be the working hours for the construction?

Normal working hours will be between 7:00 and 19:00 Monday to Friday. Construction activity will also take place on weekends and bank holidays. The exact timings will be form part of the discharge requirements of the DCO consent.

We will do as much as we can to keep disturbance to the local community to a minimum.

When will the substation be operational?

The substations at Bramford and Richborough are already operational – supplying the local area and connect existing generation. The extensions at those to connect the proposed link will be complete by the end of 2028. As with the rest of the link, those works will be energised and the equipment in service as we go into 2029 – delivering clean green energy and helping the UK meet its 2030 renewable energy targets.

What is the operation life of the substation?

We expect the operation life of the substation to be at least 40 years.

How long will the new pylons last?

The pylons are designed to have a minimum lifetime of 40 years, subject to annual inspection.

Refurbishment could extend the life span of pylons.

Planning and Regulation

How does the DCO application process work?

The process comprises six key stages:

  • pre-application
  • acceptance
  • pre-examination
  • examination
  • decision
  • post-decision

On receipt of an application for development consent, the Planning Inspectorate has 28 days to decide accept it or not. There is a period of six months for the Planning Inspectorate to examine an application and three months for the Planning Inspectorate to make its recommendation to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State has a further period of three months in which to issue a decision. The whole process should take about 16 months.

Project Finance

Why can’t you pay to put cables underground out of your profits?

National Grid already invests part of its profits in maintaining and upgrading the electricity network. Over the coming years, however, we have a huge amount of work to do, connecting new power sources and upgrading our ageing network and this will need extra funding from electricity bill-payers. We are investing up to £3 billion a year in our networks. We need to raise that money up front from investors and lenders. Electricity consumers pay it back in their bills over some 30 years. Electricity transmission costs make up around 4% of the typical electricity bill.

What is the total project budget?

As part of our review, we have also reconsidered the costs of building the reinforcement. Market and material costs will change before we reach construction, but based on current information and designs, in today’s (or equivalent) prices, the capital cost estimates rounded to the nearest £m, are as outlined below.

The total estimated capital cost of the proposed scheme is approximately £363m. Of that, overhead line costs account for approximately £78m. Underground cables, including cable sealing ends at £5m each, account for approximately £245m. Substation works are £40m of which £27m is the new grid supply point at Butlers Wood.

Consultation

Why are you consulting people?

Under the process to apply for a Development Consent Order (DCO), we are required to consult with people living in the vicinity of the development.

When will you be engaging with landowners? I assume you will be seeking land access and this is likely to generate significant public interest?

Engagement with landowners started in Winter 2021. If you feel that your land or property may be effected by the proposals, please contact our lands team using the details below.

T: 01452 889000
E: bramford-twinstead@brutonknowles.co.uk

How will residents be kept updated throughout the process?

Residents can sign-up to receive project updated by clicking here.

How has the Coronavirus pandemic impacted how consultation will be carried out?

Due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 restrictions, we are not able to arrange traditional public exhibitions or face to face meetings to present our proposals to local communities and other stakeholders.

Instead, we are proposing to present the information online, through our project website, and provide online webinars and chat opportunities for stakeholders to find out more and ask questions.

We recognise that not everyone has access to or uses the internet and we will make paper copies of all the relevant information available and provide other opportunities, such as by telephone, for members of the public to speak with project team

We want to engage equally with all stakeholders, irrespective of access to digital communications.

How can I take part in the consultation?

Our non-statutory consultation has now closed; however, our project email and telephone information line remain open. You will have another opportunity to provide your feedback at our statutory consultation which is due to take place later this year.

How will people be able to provide feedback on your proposals?

We will provide online feedback forms for people to complete and provide their views on our proposals. We recognise that some people who do not have access to the website, and we will send paper copies and provide freepost envelopes for them to provide their feedback to us free of charge.

How will National Grid ensure that people living in rural areas and other hard-to-reach groups are adequately consulted?

The online consultation format, which has been developed in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, offers a great tool for targeting hard-to-reach (H2R) groups or just those who are too busy to attend specific events. These solutions were not as available last time round, mainly due to the lack of local broadband connections. Most homes are now fully online with 96% of homes and businesses in Suffolk enjoying better broadband than they did during the last consultation.

We recognise that not everyone has access to or uses the internet and we will make paper copies of all the relevant information available and provide other opportunities, such as by telephone, for members of the public to speak with project team

How will you be engaging those with who have a disability and may be less able to participate?

We are producing consultation material in an ‘easy read’ format. One of our project webinars will also be British Sign Language equipped.

What effect will feedback into the consultation have?

We will carefully consider and have regard to all consultation feedback and responses help inform the development of our proposals. We will share our developed proposals at a future consultation, along with information on how feedback received has helped to shape our proposals.