The story so far

Between 2009 and 2013 work was undertaken to develop proposals to add this much needed network capability. Changes to when planned new generation would come online in East Anglia meant that work was put on hold at the end of 2013.

Now that the offshore wind developments have moved forward, backed by Government targets and legislation, it is clear that this reinforcement is needed. We are taking forward the work required to ensure it is in place before the end of the decade so that we can use cleaner, greener electricity in our homes and businesses.

Last year, we held a public consultation to explain why the reinforcement is needed, reintroduce our proposals, and gather public feedback. We then held a statutory consultation earlier this year, followed by a targeted consultation on proposed changes to our proposals.

Stage 1 Consultation

The first stage of consultation started in October 2009. During the consultation we explained why the reinforcement was needed, how we had assessed the strategic options and set out in detail each of the four route corridor options under consideration.

We asked people to provide their views on our proposals and on each of the four route corridor options.

Over 3,000 individual consultation responses were received and we used that feedback to review against our corridor assessment work and to help identify a preferred corridor.

In July 2011 we confirmed our decision to take forward Route Corridor 2 as our preferred corridor option. It was selected as it followed the route of existing overhead lines and would enable a section of an existing 132 kV route to be removed. This corridor was also considered to give rise to a lower scale of effect on landscape and views than other options.

 

Stage 2 Consultation

Following the selection of our preferred corridor, we started to develop indicative alignments and carried out further work to identify whether any specific sections should be partly or wholly undergrounded.

The views of local people were canvassed through a series of Community Forum meetings. Local authorities, environmental bodies and technical specialists gave feedback through several Thematic Group meetings.

In May 2012 we published details of our indicative alignment. It included two sections of the route where the high cost of putting the cables underground was considered justifiable, these were:

  • around 4 km from Whitestreet Green to Leavenheath through Dedham Vale AONB
  • approximately 4 kilometres in the Stour Valley, where, after listening to feedback from the public and consultees, it was clear that location was important not just for its high-quality landscape, but also its cultural links with Gainsborough, Constable and Nash.

Each of the underground sections would require a cable sealing end compound at each end to connect to the overhead lines.

Further public consultations were held over the summer of 2012 and in October of that year, we confirmed our preferred alignment and announced the next steps in the detailed design of our proposals, including:

  • deciding on the preferred route at the eastern end of the route around the villages of Hintlesham and Burstall
  • further consultation on the location of the connection point at the western end of the route where underground cables in the Stour Valley would connect to the existing 400 kV overhead line between Twinstead Tee and Braintree
  • and identifying a site for a grid supply substation west of Twinstead, to maintain local electricity supplies and enable the removal of UK Power Network’s existing 132 kV line.
Project pause

In November 2013 work was paused when it was apparent that some of the generation projects in the region were not going to come forward as quickly as previously envisaged. While the need for the reinforcement remained, it was apparent that it would not be needed in the timescales originally envisaged.

Project restart and non-statutory consultation

Work on the project resumed in 2020. At this time, we reviewed our proposals as they were in 2013 and found that they broadly remained appropriate and were efficient, coordinated and economical.

Following this, between 25 March 2021 and 8 May 2021 we held a non-statutory public consultation to:

  • re-introduce the project and explain our proposals at the time we paused work in 2013
  • explain how we had reviewed our proposals and how we identified some areas for further consideration
  • hear your views on our proposals and explain how we would consider your feedback as we develop our proposals further.

You can find out more about our non-statutory consultation and the feedback we received in our Non-statutory Consultation Report, available in our Document library.

Statutory consultation and reviewing feedback

As a result of further technical work and feedback from our non-statutory consultation, we made a number of changes to the design of our proposed reinforcement. Additionally, we developed further detail on our proposals, including around construction and environmental mitigation.

Between 25 January and 21 March 2022, we therefore held a statutory consultation on the Bramford to Twinstead Reinforcement. The purpose of this consultation was to:

  • set out our detailed plans for the proposed reinforcement
  • explain how our proposals had changed since our last consultation in 2021
  • hear your views on our proposals and explain how we would consider your feedback as we look to finalise our plans.

You can find out more about our statutory consultation by visiting our Document Library.

Targeted consultation

As a result of feedback received during our statutory consultation in spring 2022, we made some further changes to our proposals. The biggest changes to our plans at this consultation were in the western part of the Stour Valley, in the parishes of Lamarsh, Alphamstone, Twinstead, Pebmarsh and Little Maplestead. We also made several smaller changes to our proposals across the wider route of the proposed reinforcement.  

Between 8 September and 19 October 2022, we therefore held a targeted consultation on changes to our plans for the Bramford to Twinstead Reinforcement. The purpose of this consultation was to:

  • update you and seek views on our proposals for the Bramford to Twinstead reinforcement in the western part of the Stour Valley 

  • update you and seek views on other smaller changes made to the Bramford to Twinstead reinforcement.  

You can find out more about our targeted consultation by visiting our Document Library.

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Find out more

To find out more about our previous consultations, including historic consultation activity between 2009-2013, please refer to our document library.

Document library