Project FAQs

What does National Grid do?

It is our job to connect people to the energy they use. We play a vital role, delivering gas and electricity efficiently, reliably, and safely to millions of people across Great Britain. In England and Wales, we own and operate the high voltage electricity transmission network and have day-to-day responsibility for balancing supply and demand across Great Britain. We also have operations in the north-eastern states of the US and are one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world.

Who regulates National Grid?

We are regulated by Ofgem (Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets). Further information about Ofgem is available on its website, www.ofgem.gov.uk.

What is the LPT phase 2 project?

The London Power Tunnels phase 2 project follows the success of our original London Power Tunnels (LPT1) project, a seven-year £1 billion scheme to rewire the Capital. LPT1 involved building 32km of tunnels and two new substations. As part of the second phase, National Grid is building a new network of cable tunnels in South London, 32.5km in length, between Wimbledon and Crayford.

Why do we need these tunnels?

The new cable tunnels will replace the existing electricity cables which currently run beneath the road network. The work is essential work to ensure a continued safe and reliable electricity network. In London, most electricity is transmitted through underground cables. These are traditionally located just beneath the road surface, and work to maintain them is usually carried out in the road. By housing new electricity cables in tunnels deep below the surface, a number of advantages are achieved compared to more traditional methods:

  • Overall disruption to Londoners and road users during construction is significantly reduced as the majority of the works will take place deep beneath the ground
  • Future repair and maintenance can be carried out with minimal disruption to residents, traffic, and businesses
What route will the tunnels take?

The three new tunnel sections are:

  • Section 1: Wimbledon to New Cross – length 12km
  • Section 2: New Cross to Hurst – length 18km
  • Section 3: Hurst to Crayford – length 2.5km
How did you determine the route for the tunnels?

There were a number of key considerations for determining the tunnel route including:

  • The location of our existing substations (start and end points for the new electrical circuits)
  • Environmental impacts, such as avoiding source protection zones for drinking water
  • The need to avoid other underground infrastructure
  • Ventilation and safety requirements (we need to have an access shaft every 7km)
Does National Grid have the rights to carry out this work?

We are building the tunnels and shafts under our permitted development rights, which means we do not need planning permission for the entire project. However, there are points along the tunnel route where we need to build new headhouse buildings to cover the shafts. We have secured all necessary planning permissions for works which do not fall under our permitted development rights.

When will the project be complete?

Construction works began in March 2020 and it will take approximately seven years to complete the project.

Who are the contractors for the project?

The contract for the tunnels has been awarded to Hochtief Murphy Joint Venture for the detailed design and build of the tunnel network, which will house the new electricity cables. Further contracts will be awarded for other elements of the project.

How deep are the tunnels going to be?

The depth of the tunnels will range between 12m and 63m. The majority of the tunnels will be around 30m deep (the height of a typical three-storey building).

What are shafts and headhouses?

Shafts and headhouses are required at key points along the route of the tunnel. A tunnel boring machine will travel between these points as it progresses along the route.

Shafts are approximately 15 metres in diameter and between 30 – 40 metres in depth. Shafts are used to lower tunnel boring machines.

A headhouse is a building which covers a shaft. Shafts and headhouses are required for the following reasons:

  • Health and safety – it is essential to have access points to ensure the safety of our workforce during construction. The shafts will also be used to access the tunnel for maintenance work once the tunnels are built and operational.
  • Ventilation – ventilation equipment, in the form of fans, will be required at some sites to cool the cables and regulate the temperature inside the tunnels.
What are your working hours?

Working hours will vary by site, for more information please check our In Your Area pages. 24-hour working will be required while we build the tunnel. During the night, our works will largely take place below ground. Works above ground will usually take from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. Occasional out of hours work may be necessary and we will keep you informed about this.

How disruptive will these works be?

We are committed to carrying out our works with minimal impact on the local community. We have completed an environmental assessment for each site and before works began Construction Environmental Management Plans and Construction Logistics Plans have been agreed with the relevant local authorities. The tunnelling works are carried out deep beneath the ground, therefore it is unlikely that there will be any noticeable noise or vibrations. We will monitor these issues throughout the construction programme.

Will the works cause traffic congestion?

One of the reasons for building a tunnel is to avoid traffic congestion on the busy roads in and around London. However, there will be some construction traffic as a result of our work. Please be assured, this will be kept to a minimum and will be managed.

What measures will be in place to mitigate this impact?

We will do all we can to minimise any disruption associated with our construction traffic. This includes:

  • Building temporary access roads, which will route construction traffic to our sites, avoiding the need to use main roads.
  • Managing HGV movements and avoiding peak morning and evening times where possible.
  • Promoting car share incentives.
What are you doing to benefit the community?

As part of our ongoing commitment to the communities in which we work, we have partnered with social enterprise, Connectr, to deliver a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and careers engagement programme to secondary schools across the route. Our activities will give pupils the opportunity to participate in National Grid interactive STEM workshops, and we will also deliver careers fairs and online mentoring for students in years 12 and 13. Find out more about it here.

How much power will the new cables deliver?

Upon completion, London Power Tunnels will be capable of transmitting summer electrical power flows of 1091MVA and winter flows of 1240MVA. This is equivalent to approximately powering 500,000 kettles.

How will you keep us informed throughout the project?

We have a community relations team in place who will keep you informed about our works through:

  • Public information events
  • Project updates by letter or newsletter
  • A dedicated community phone number
  • Local media
  • Project website

If you would like to discuss the project in more detail or have any questions, please contact our community relations team using the details below:

Call our free helpline number: 0800 783 2855

Email: [email protected]

Compulsory Purchase Orders

In order to be able to deliver this essential and urgent infrastructure project, we require certain land and rights.

Whilst our intention is to acquire all land and rights required to deliver the project voluntarily and deliver the project without delay, we have taken a comprehensive approach to acquiring the land and rights by issuing CPOs for each section/circuit of the route in parallel with voluntary negotiations.

For the tunnel route, we are predominantly seeking rights in subsoil to land at depth beneath properties along the route, as well as certain land and rights on the surface at headhouse sites.

LPT2 comprises three ‘Circuits’ between existing National Grid substation sites:

  • Circuit 1 is from Wimbledon to New Cross
  • Circuit 2 is from New Cross to Hurst
  • Circuit 3 is from Hurst to Crayford

We have submitted two Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) for land and rights along the tunnel route – these two particular Orders cover Circuit 1 and Circuit 2. An Inquiry into both CPOs was held on 7 January 2020 and we are awaiting the Secretary of State’s decision on both. We have made a separate CPO for Circuit 3 and will submit this in due course.

The CPO is a last resort and therefore, only the land and those rights which we have not been able to secure voluntarily will be procured through the CPO process. Since March 2018, we have engaged with landowners and occupiers of properties, which are located above the route of the tunnel, to discuss the required rights to deliver the project. We have also notified them about the CPO process.

Should you have any questions at all about the CPO process, please contact our Community Relations team on 0800 783 2855 or [email protected]

The documents relating to our Compulsory Purchase Orders can be found below.

What is a CPO?

A Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) is a legal function that allows certain bodies such as government, councils, or utility companies, in this case National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET), to obtain land or property without the consent of the owner.

Why has a CPO been issued by National Grid?

National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) has made two Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) to enable us to compulsorily acquire the land and rights necessary to build a new network of cable tunnels in South London, between Wimbledon and Crayford. This new project is called London Power Tunnels 2 (LPT2) and follows the success of our original London Power Tunnels project (LPT1), a seven-year £1 billion scheme to rewire the Capital.

To ensure we can deliver this essential and urgent project without delay, we have taken a comprehensive approach to seek a CPO for land beneath properties along the tunnel route, together with the land rights which we have already reached via voluntary agreements with landowners.

Does the order cover the whole London Power Tunnels 2 (LPT2) project?

The project comprises three ‘Circuits’: Circuit 1 is from Wimbledon to New Cross; Circuit 2 is from New Cross to Hurst; and Circuit 3 is from Hurst to Crayford. This particular Order covers Circuit 1 and Circuit 2. We will issue a separate order for Circuit 3.

What do you need the rights for?

We need to acquire the rights to land beneath properties along the tunnel route. We have made contact with owners and occupiers of the properties which are located above the route of the tunnel, to discuss the required rights to deliver the project.

Our CPO will only affect the land beneath properties, and not the above-ground properties themselves.

I have already entered a voluntary agreement with National Grid?

To ensure that we can deliver this essential and urgent infrastructure project without delay, we have taken a comprehensive approach to seek a CPO for land rights beneath properties along the tunnel route, together with the land rights which we have already reached via voluntary agreements with landowners. This protects us in case unknown landowners arise and in cases where reaching a voluntary agreement is not possible.

Will I be affected by these CPOs?

We have contacted the owners and occupiers of the properties which are located above the route of the tunnel, to discuss the required rights to deliver the project. We will continue to engage with affected owners and occupiers to seek the rights that we require via voluntary agreement where possible.

Our CPOs will only affect the land beneath properties, and not the above-ground properties themselves.

Who can I talk to if I have any further questions about the CPO?

If you have any questions about the Order, or if you have not already reached a voluntary agreement but would now like to do so, please email [email protected] Alternatively, you can call 0800 160 1376 and ask to speak to Harry Stubbs or Nicola Page.

What will happen next?

Our CPOs will be advertised in public locations for at least 3 weeks to allow time for those affected to review the documents and make objections to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, should they wish.

If the Secretary of State receives objections to our CPOs, then the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will make written representations to NGET or will arrange for a public inquiry. BEIS will be in touch with those who have made an objection, if they require any further information.

After either the public inquiry or the written representations, the Secretary of State will approve, amend, or reject the CPOs. This will be confirmed in writing.

If the Secretary of State approves our CPOs, we will contact all landowners and occupiers of properties which are located above the route of the tunnel, to inform them of the decision. We will also publicise the decision. We will then contact all affected properties again regarding our acquisition of the rights for the project.

Field worker inside london power tunnels

Contact us

If you would like to discuss the project in greater detail or have any questions, please contact our community relations team using the details below:

Call our Freephone helpline number: 0800 783 2855 (lines open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)

Email: [email protected]k

Write to: FREEPOST NATIONAL GRID