Power Cable Update
£27million scheme to lay power cables laid under the rivers Stour and Orwell
Preparatory work is underway to remove pylons and lay two high voltage electricity cables under the rivers Stour and Orwell as part of a £27 million scheme to boost power supplies to Felixstowe, Shotley and Harwich.
UK Power Networks, which owns and operates the electricity networks in the East of England, London and the South East, has carried out archeological investigations and dug bore holes ahead of the two-year project which will see 16km of 132kv cable installed between Ipswich and Felixstowe. The scheme also involves 33kV cables being installed into Shotley and Harwich to provide underground supplies to those regions currently supplied by overhead lines.
The development is set to be the largest underwater drilling scheme ever undertaken by the company, which will use a 1.7km and 1.1km directional drills to lay the cables beneath the two rivers.
The firm also plans to remove 10km of overhead power lines between Felixstowe and Ipswich, which will improve the appearance of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Special Protection Areas along the rivers and coastline.
Chris Sugars, project manager at UK Power Networks, said: “This is the most ambitious underwater drilling scheme UK Power Networks has ever undertaken but it is vital to meet the future needs of the growing Port of Felixstowe and the Eastern region as a whole.
“The project is very challenging, not only because we will be drilling beneath two rivers and laying more than 35km of cable in total, but large swathes of the land adjoining the rivers is of historic and natural importance and so we are consulting with a number of organisations to safeguard the wildlife, habitat and any possible ancient artefacts which may be in the ground.”
Work is due to get under way in earnest in May next year and is due to be completed in October 2018.
The majority of the digging work will be on agricultural land and beneath the river beds although there will be work in both Shotley and Dovercourt at the end of 2016 and into 2017.
Chris added: “We working closely with local councils regarding all the work we are doing. While there will be some traffic disruption in both Shotley and Dovercourt, we aim to keep this to a minimum and it is for a long term benefit to 45,000 customers in south Suffolk and north Essex.”