National Grid plans new Kent-Essex tunnel

National Grid Electricity Transmission proposes to build a new cable tunnel underneath the Thames which will deliver cleaner electricity to the area.

The existing Thames Cable Tunnel between Tilbury and Gravesend is more than 50 years old and is coming to the end of its useful life. The proposed new tunnel would replace it and help to reinforce the local network.

Two new headhouses will also be built at either end of the tunnel at Gravesend and Tilbury for access.

Planning applications have now been submitted under the Town and Country Planning Act to both Thurrock and Gravesham councils. National Grid is hoping to start construction this summer with completion in winter 2028.

The applications follows a consultation last October with residents of Gravesend and Tilbury.

National Grid is also planning the later refurbishment of the existing overhead line between Tilbury, Kingsnorth, and the Isle of Grain, although this phase of works is not planned until 2028 and does not form part of this planning application.

The Grain to Tilbury proposals form part of The Great Grid Upgrade, the largest overhaul of the grid in generations, with new infrastructure across England and Wales helping the UK to meet its net zero ambitions, reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and contribute to lower energy bills over the long-term.

Lead project manager Lee Driscoll said: “The Grain to Tilbury project is essential to upgrade the energy network in Kent and Essex to ensure that we can continue to carry more clean energy to homes and businesses, and help the country reach net zero by 2050.

“We are pleased to have now submitted our planning applications and look forward to delivering this important upgrade following their approval.”

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