Major plans to replace Thames Cable Tunnel


National Grid has submitted plans for a major upgrade of its electricity infrastructure, following a public consultation last year.  

Thames Cable Tunnel. Credit: National Grid.

The massive project involves the replacement of the existing Thames Cable Tunnel, linking Tilbury and Gravesend, and construction of two new ‘headhouses’ at either end. 

The existing cable tunnel, underneath the Thames, is more than 50 years old and is approaching the end of its lifecycle. 

The proposal is part of The Great Grid Upgrade, the largest overhaul of the grid in generations, with new infrastructure planned across England and Wales to help the UK towards its 2050 net zero target by connecting more offshore wind power 

National Grid is also planning the refurbishment of the existing overhead line between Tilbury, Kingsnorth, and the Isle of Grain, in 2028.   

Planning applications for the Thames Cable Tunnel have now been lodged with both Thurrock and Gravesham Councils. 

The applications can be viewed on the respective planning portals under reference 23/01502/FUL (Thurrock) and 20231313 (Gravesham). 

Lee Driscoll, lead project manager, said: “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.” 

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