National Grid has launched a statutory consultation on its plans to connect new clean energy sources into the East Anglian electricity network.

Over a 10-week period, from Wednesday, April 10 to Tuesday, June 18, the public are encouraged to comment on proposals for a new overhead electricity line between Norwich, Norfolk and Tilbury, Essex.

Norwich to Tilbury is one of 17 projects across England and Wales and forms a key part of The Great Grid Upgrade, the largest overhaul of the grid in generations.

It will help connect power generated from offshore wind in the UK to homes and businesses across Britain, helping to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and bringing the cost of energy bills down in the long term.

National Grid has listened to public feedback and refined its proposals after the two previous consultations – in 2022 and 2023.

This consultation is an opportunity for communities to see how the design of the project has progressed.

It includes the preferred draft alignment for the overhead line and underground cable; an alternative design being considered at the Waveney Valley where 2km of underground cable may be used instead of overhead line; substation extension works at the existing Norwich Main and Bramford substations; works within the existing Tilbury substation; and temporary works and access to support construction.

In Suffolk, around 14km of existing lower voltage overhead line is also proposed to be taken down.

Paul Reaston, consents officer at National Grid, has worked on the Norwich to Tilbury project since early 2020. He is part of a 10-strong consents team focusing on various aspects of the scheme.

“My main role is co-ordinating the development of the Norwich to Tilbury project, working closely with engineering colleagues and ensuring we thoroughly consider the feedback we receive from consultation, environmental survey information and technical studies,” said Paul.

“The design decisions all need to be considered within the context of National Grid’s various duties and the relevant planning policies, in order to take forward an economical and efficient scheme.”

Paul had 10 years’ experience in the agricultural advisory sector before nearly 30 years’ experience in environmental impact assessment (EIA), project management and co-ordination.

Eastern Daily Press: Paul Reaston, consents officer for National GridPaul Reaston, consents officer for National Grid (Image: National Grid)

His interest in agriculture and farm management began while helping on his grandfather’s farm as a child. This inspired him to pursue a degree in agriculture, which led to consultancy work and then EIA project management.

“This covered a diverse range of projects, from nuclear power development and waste facilities to large urban developments and numerous renewable energy developments,” said Paul.

In his time working for National Grid, Paul has worked on permitted development and town and country planning applications (TCPA) at various locations around the existing network, as well as new electricity transmission projects.

More recently, he led the routing and siting work for a gas pipeline reinforcement project to support liquid natural gas imports for the energy transition.

Paul explained that the role of National Grid’s consents team is to be “evidence-led and balanced in the context of policy set by the government and regulator”.

“Specifically on Norwich to Tilbury, we have been considering introducing a section of cable at the Waveney Valley, and looking at whether underground cabling close to the Dedham Vale National Landscape should be extended,” he said.

“In each case we consider the effects being reduced, such as on landscape and views, but also effects that may be increased. Installing underground cable has an environmental impact, and we need to make sure decision-making recognises the potential disruption and effects such as on ecology.

“In other locations we’re also considering moving the alignment of the overhead line to reduce effects on listed buildings – and looking at changing the proposed locations for cable sealing end compounds (where changes from overhead lines to cables are made) to reduce impact.”

He added that consents is a great career path for anybody interested in problem solving and protecting the future of the planet.

“It’s great to be part of projects that are going to make a difference, reduce our carbon footprint and lead to net zero.”

During the 10-week consultation on Norwich to Tilbury, the public will be able to attend 14 public information events, join webinars and view information at inspection points.

Details of the public information events and inspection points can be found at

To respond to the consultation, please visit

Eastern Daily Press:

This article is part of LOCALiQ's Clean & Green campaign, which aims to promote our region as the biggest in the UK and Europe for all forms of renewable energy.