New Essential Infrastructure

Littlebrook substation

South East

Here at National Grid, we are leading the charge to tackle climate change. Britain is a world leader in the journey to net zero and we play a central role in helping the country achieve its targets by 2050.

Project description

We are investing around £1.3 billion each year to adapt and develop our network to connect new sources of low carbon and green energy to our homes and businesses. We are also reducing emissions from our own operations and continually developing net zero construction methods alongside investing in local communities to inspire the next generation of engineers.

A substation is an integral part of the UK electrical transmission system; it reduces electricity voltage so that it is easier and safer to deliver electricity to homes and businesses. The existing substation having been built in 1977, is no longer operating in line with our low carbon targets.

  • This is because the substation is reliant on a harmful greenhouse gas, Sulphur Hexafluoride which is used as it is an excellent electrical insulator, however, it has an extremely high Global Warming impact.
  • It is imperative therefore that new solutions are found, and this is why we have declared that it’s our ambition to eliminate all SF6 gas from our assets by 2050.

The majority of work will be carried out between 7.00am – 7.00pm up to seven days a week. However, there are exceptional circumstances where working outside of these may be necessary.

Transmission for the future

The solution is to build a new modern substation using the next generation of cleaner ‘gas insulating’ technology across the substation and not relying on SF6.

As an alternative to SF6, we have developed a new gas mixture called g3 which will reduce the Global Warming impact from 23,500 times to 345 times that of CO2. Replacing 1kg of SF6 with 1kg of g3 equals a saving of one car circling the earth four times.

We are also delivering other innovations on site:

  • As much solar powered electrics as possible alongside:
  • EV charging points
  • Use of British steel
  • Biodiversity Net Gain plan for the local area

During construction, the estimated savings of CO2 emissions on the project are 5,229 tonnes. By taking the lead in this area, we can promote and accelerate widespread development and deployment of SF6 alternatives, as well as our ‘carbon reduction hierarchy’, both in the UK and worldwide.

How Will These Works Affect Me?

The aim is that this work will cause as little impact to your daily life as possible. Depending on where you live and work, the effects will differ.

We have worked closely with the statutory authorities and councils to ensure transport and other access issues are managed and coordinated locally to minimise disruption to the community whilst these essential works are completed.

A detailed traffic management plan has been created to manage the volume of extra construction vehicles accessing and egressing the site to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum.

This work will have no impact on power supplies in the area.


National Grid Community Grant Programme

National Grid have a Community Grant Programme which is aimed at organisations and charities in areas where National Grid’s work impacts on local people through operations and site activities. Projects run by charities and community groups can receive funding if they meet local community needs by providing a range of social, economic and environmental benefits. If your project meets our criteria, you can apply for a grant of up to £10,000. To find out more click here.

Useful links

National Grid launches skills programme to lead the way towards net zero

Preparing for a net zero future

Building the net zero energy workforce