National Grid has submitted plans for Grain to Tilbury infrastructure upgrade

  • Following a public consultation in October 2023, National Grid has now submitted planning applications to Gravesend and Thurrock Councils. These applications have now been validated and are open to comments. 
  • Grain to Tilbury will help the UK achieve its net zero target for 2050 by connecting more offshore wind power. The project forms part of The Great Grid Upgrade, the largest overhaul of the electricity grid in generations.
  • The project will see the replacement of the existing Thames Cable Tunnel, linking Tilbury and Gravesend, alongside the delivery of a new headhouse at each end of the tunnel.

National Grid has submitted plans to upgrade electricity infrastructure between Grain and Tilbury. The applications follows a consultation last October with local Gravesend and Tilbury residents.

As part of its plans, National Grid Electricity Transmission proposes to build a new cable tunnel underneath the Thames, which will deliver cleaner electricity to the area. The existing Thames Cable Tunnel between Tilbury and Gravesend is more than 50 years old and is coming to the end of its useful life. The proposed new tunnel will replace it and help to reinforce the local network.

Planning applications have now been submitted under the Town and Country Planning Act to both Thurrock and Gravesham Councils.

Two new ‘headhouses’ will also be built at either end of the tunnel at Gravesend and Tilbury.

These headhouses are buildings that are needed to connect the tunnel and act as access points for National Grid workers. 

National Grid is also planning the later refurbishment of the existing overhead line between Tilbury, Kingsnorth and the Isle of Grain, although this phase of works is not planned until 2028 and does not form part of this consultation.

The Grain to Tilbury proposals form 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.

Lee Driscoll, Lead Project Manager, commented: “The Grain to Tilbury project is essential to upgrade the energy network in Kent and Essex to ensure that we can continue to carry more clean energy to homes and businesses, and help the country reach net zero by 2050.

“We are pleased to have now submitted our planning applications and look forward to delivering this important upgrade following their approval.” 

All information about the plans can be found on the project website, The submitted applications can also be viewed on the respective planning portals under reference 23/01502/FUL (Thurrock) and 20231313 (Gravesham).