21 December, 2023

Council submits formal response to National Grid’s Sea Link consultation

Thanet District Council has submitted a written representation to the National Grid Electricity Transmission plc (NGET) public consultation regarding their Sea Link proposal. 

Sea Link is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) to upgrade the UK’s electricity supply, and includes the installation of a new cable link between Suffolk and Kent.  

While the council is a statutory consultee in this process, it does not decide whether the scheme is approved or refused. NSIPs are projects of certain types, over a certain size, which are considered by the government to be so big and nationally important that permission to build them needs to be given at a national level, by the responsible government minister. The final decision will be made by the relevant Secretary of State.

If approved, a new underground high voltage cable will be installed from Pegwell Bay to a new converter station near Minster, with 2.25 km of new overhead line connecting the station with the existing overhead electricity line. 

Cllr Rick Everitt, Leader of Thanet District Council, said: “We are aware of the considerable concern over the impacts of National Grid’s Sea Link project amongst our communities, and the council shares this concern. We want to reassure residents that their views have been heard and understood, and have been fundamental to our consultation submission. 

“We recognise the need to adapt the electricity transmission network in order to respond to rising demand and the move to sustainable generation methods in new locations. We have major concerns regarding the proposed location on Minster Marshes however; the scale of the converter building and the effects of the associated infrastructure; the significant impact on protected wildlife and species habitat both during construction and afterwards; and the potential change to the character of the landscape.

“There are a significant number of outstanding surveys and reports with unknown outcomes, spanning a number of topics. We have asked to be kept informed and given the opportunity for further engagement before the final options are selected, including the scale, orientation and finish of the converter and substation, pylon design, access routes, mitigation methods, management plans and security measures. 

“It is difficult for us to assess and understand the exact impacts of the Sea Link project given the limited details that we have at this point.”

Further work will be needed if the application is submitted for examination by NGET to the Planning Inspectorate, including the production of a Local Impact Report. A panel of inspectors, appointed by the Planning Inspectorate, will consider the application and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State. Further information on the process for an NSIP is available on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

The council’s full consultation response is available here. The consultation closed on Monday 18 December. 

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