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National Grid unveils plans for new overhead electricity line between Grimsby and Walpole – with consultation now live

A new 140km-long overhead electricity line could be created from Lincolnshire to West Norfolk – with a new substation installed here too.

National Grid has unveiled its early-stage proposals for a new network from Grimsby to Walpole, which it says is a key infrastructure project in the UK’s transition to a decarbonised energy system.

The energy company is now inviting people in West Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire to view the plans and have their say.

A new 140km-long overhead electricity line could be created from Lincolnshire to West Norfolk – with a new substation installed here too. Picture: iStock
A new 140km-long overhead electricity line could be created from Lincolnshire to West Norfolk – with a new substation installed here too. Picture: iStock

Ben Muncey, project director for Grimsby to Walpole, said: “This reinforcement between Grimsby and Walpole is essential in the UK’s journey to net zero by 2050 and is part of a wider programme to upgrade the entire network.

“We look forward to hearing views from members of the public and we welcome feedback on our proposals.”

The project forms 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.

National Grid's proposed new Grimsby to Walpole network. Picture: National Grid
National Grid's proposed new Grimsby to Walpole network. Picture: National Grid

Grimsby to Walpole would be able to transport six gigawatts of power and connect proposed new sources of electricity that are planned to come onshore on the east coast.

The project involves proposals to build a new 400,000 volt (400kV) overhead electricity transmission line and five new substations – including one at Walpole.

It would run between two new 400kV substations in Grimsby and Walpole, with three new connection substations along the route.

The upgrade – referred to as ‘Grimsby to Walpole’ – is required to support the UK’s net zero target by reinforcing the electricity transmission network in Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, and Norfolk.

National Grid officials said much of the existing high-voltage electricity transmission network was built in the 1960s and does not extend into large parts of Lincolnshire.

“With the growth in power flows on the network from increasing offshore wind and interconnectors, the amount of electricity landing on the east coast and flowing through the Lincolnshire region by the end of this decade will be more than the existing network can currently accommodate,” they said.

Carl Simms, senior project manager at National Grid, said: “Based on what we are seeing, by 2033 we will need to transport 29 gigawatts, so we need to increase the network through that part of the country [Lincolnshire].

“Before we go about building brand new infrastructure, we also need to make the most of the existing overhead lines and substations we currently operate. We are looking to do that.”

He added: “We are keen to work with local communities and organisations so they can be involved in these proposals.”

Mr Simms said that the company would “take account of local factors” and “avoid making significant impacts on the environment”.

“We want to work directly with the communities to ensure there’s a positive impact,” he added.

“We want to leave the areas in a better state environmentally than when we first started.”

The government has said that the investment in onshore network infrastructure could support up to 130,000 jobs and contribute an estimated £4-11bilion of GVA (gross value added) to the economy in 2050.

National Grid's current expectation is to hold a statutory consultation this time next year, before making a planning submission in 2027.

If permission was granted in 2028, work could start in 2029 – with the network becoming operational in 2033.

However, Mr Muncey said: “If we are able to accelerate those dates, that’s something we would look to do.”

The cost of the project is expected to be in the region of £2billion – which National Grid said was the most cost-efficient proposal it considered, compared to an underground network which would cost in excess of £12billion or offshore (in excess of £10billion).

National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) is now running a public consultation on its proposals from today until March 13.

The project webpage can also be viewed at nationalgrid.com/g-w.

As part of the consultation, members of the public will have the opportunity to share their feedback on the proposals, including the preliminary route, design, and substation siting areas.

A total of 11 in-person consultation events and eight online webinars will be held during this period, including one at Tydd St Giles Community Centre on Wednesday, January 31 between 2pm to 7pm and another at Walpole Community Centre in Walpole St Andrew on Tuesday, February 20 between 2pm to 7pm.

Online webinars include a general overview and introduction to the proposals on Tuesday from 2pm to 3pm and Thursday, March 7 from 2pm to 3pm, as well as the proposals specifically covering the Walpole area on Tuesday, March 5 from 7pm to 8pm.

To register for a webinar or for any questions or information, email contact@g-w.nationalgrid.com or call the community relations team on 0800 0129 153.

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