As part of the UK’s climate commitments, the Government has set ambitious targets to deliver up to 50 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030, have the UK powered entirely by clean electricity, subject to security of supply, by 2035 on the way to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The UK electricity industry is evolving at pace to help lead the way in meeting the climate challenge, whilst also creating a secure energy supply based on renewable and low carbon technologies.

The demands on the electricity network are set to grow as other sectors of the economy diversify their energy consumption from using fossil fuels towards cleaner forms, the move towards electric vehicles being just one example.

Where we’re getting our power from is changing and we need to change too. The new sources of renewable and low-carbon energy are located along the coastline. We need to reinforce existing transmission network and build new electricity infrastructure in these areas in order to transport the power to where it’s needed. This is the case along the whole of the East Coast including Suffolk and Kent.

To allow this increase in energy generation, we need to reinforce the electricity transmission system. Sea Link helps to reinforce the electricity network across Suffolk and Kent.

Our proposals include building an offshore high voltage direct current (HVDC) link between Suffolk and Kent with onshore converter stations and connections back to the national electricity transmission system.

Our public consultation

The Sea Link project will seek to obtain a development consent order (DCO) under procedures governed by the Planning Act 2008.

We will submit an application for development consent to the Planning Inspectorate, who will assess it and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State, who will decide on whether a DCO should be granted for the project.

We want to ensure that all stakeholders, including local communities, are engaged in the development of our proposals and have the opportunity to comment on these proposals at key decision making points.

Take part in our public consultation

From Monday 24 October until Sunday 18 December, we are holding our first stage of public consultation. Our consultation will introduce the project, explain why additional capability is needed on this part of the network, outline the process that we have been through so far to present our preferred route corridor and gather public feedback.

We are holding a range of online and in-person consultation events, and this is your opportunity to comment on our proposals at an early stage of the project development.

It is important that we hear the views of local people. Knowing what matters to you, matters to us, so that we can take it into account, where possible, as we develop our plans.

 Give us your feedback on these proposals

Surveys update

Preliminary surveys

In December 2021, we commenced preliminary onshore surveys to investigate a number of factors that help inform the proposals we will present at our consultation in October 2022.

These surveys will cover factors such as noise, ground conditions, landscape and visual, traffic and biodiversity, amongst others.

All key stakeholders, such as the local planning authorities and environmental bodies (such as Natural England) have been fully informed of our planned works.
 

Ecology phase 1 survey in Kent & Suffolk

National Grid will be undertaking the Ecology Phase 1 survey, these will take place:

Kent

  • December 2022 – no surveys planned

Suffolk

  • w/c 5 December– Friston and Aldeburgh

The Ecology Phase 1 survey usually consists of two surveyors, typically both ecologists, though the second is usually required for health and safety purposes so isn't always an ecologist. Each surveyor could have hi-vis clothing on so that they are easily identifiable where required.

The surveyors visit the survey areas and the vegetation and any species are mapped onto Ordnance Survey maps, usually at 1:10,000 scale. A desk study using aerial photographs will be used prior and the walkover will provide further clarity.

To further assist in the collection of data we are also undertaking a fixed wind aerial survey in both Kent and Suffolk to obtain aerial photography and LiDAR data (detailed topographical information).  This information will be used to categorise habitat types, potential areas of archaeological interest and used to inform the project design.  This survey will be undertaken alongside the other survey types and will be used to target and prioritise areas that need to accessed on the ground.  The aircraft can only be flown in clear and dry weather conditions so we are unable to provide dates of when this work will be undertaken.
 

Arboricultural walkover in Kent

National Grid will be undertaking arboricultural walkovers in Kent, these will take place:

Kent

  • Undertaken in early August 2022 in Ebbsfleet

Suffolk

  • Undertaken mid-August 2022 in Friston, Sizewell, Aldeburgh, Hazelwood and Aldringham

The Arboricultural walkover usually consists of two surveyors. Each surveyor could have hi-vis clothing on so that they are easily identifiable where required. These surveys are non-intrusive and consist of noting scientific name, measurements, age, branch spread, physiological and structural conditions, management conditions and whether there is a Tree Preservation Order or a Conservation Area Protection.
 

Wintering birds surveys in Kent

National Grid will be undertaking wintering birds surveys in Kent, these will take place:

Kent

  • w/c 14 November 2022 – Cliffsend and Ebbsfleet
  • w/c 21 November 2022 – Cliffsend and Ebbsfleet
  • w/c 12 December 2022 – Cliffsend and Ebbsfleet
  • w/c 19 December 2022 – Cliffsend and Ebbsfleet

Suffolk

  • November/December 2022 - no surveys planned

During a wintering bird survey, two surveyors will look for any wintering birds; all calls and behaviour will be recorded. They consist of the following:

Foreshore counts - monthly high and low tide counts are being undertaken between October and March inclusive. The surveys will cover a period of at least two hours, around high and low tides, where a suitably qualified ornithologist will walk a transect route that will allow observation of all major areas of habitat within the site and suitable wintering bird habitat within the wider zone of influence of the project.

Field counts - a monthly count of wintering birds are being undertaken between October and March inclusive. The surveys will take take place across the site and a 250m buffer around the site. The suitably qualified ornithologist will walk a transect route that will allow observation of all major areas of habitat within the site and suitable wintering bird habitat within the wider zone of influence of the project.

More information

Offshore wind

About Sea Link

Why the project is needed

Need for Sea Link

Find out more about the need for reinforcement

Virtual exhibition

View our proposals by visiting our virtual exhibition

Interactive map

View an interactive map of our proposals

2 men at consultation

Consultation and next steps

Find out more about our webinars and in-person events

Document library

View all consultation documents and materials for Sea Link

Man and lady standing near van

Frequently asked questions

Find answers to our most asked questions

Couple looking online

Have your say

Provide us with your feedback on our proposals for Sea Link

Sea Link

Contact us

Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments on the Sea Link development.

Call our Community Helpline: 0808 134 9569 (lines are open Monday to Friday 9am – 5.30pm)

Email us: [email protected]

Write to us: FREEPOST SEA LINK (no stamp or further address details are required)