Investment to future-proof cable network in south London

Investment to future-proof cable network in south London

UK Power Networks is to invest more than £7 million in replacing 4.5 kilometres of underground cables between Sydenham Park and Churchfields Road in south London.

The new 33,000-volt cables will be the latest design to maintain safe and reliable power supplies to customers in the local area, as more people use low carbon technologies such as heat pumps and electric vehicle (EV) chargers in future. According to statistics published by the Department for Transport, EV registrations across Lewisham and Bromley have increased by 80% year-on-year since 2018.

The project started in Sydenham Park in March this year and will take around 22 months to complete, with Churchfields Road being the last section of electricity network to receive an upgrade.

Alun Read, Project Development Manager at UK Power Networks, says, “This is one of a number of high-profile schemes we are delivering across London and the South East over the next five years. Successful delivery of these projects will result in a more secure network to meet future needs. This will also help the UK towards achieving net zero by enabling the installation of new EV charging points, heat pumps, renewable generation and battery storage facilities.”

To limit disruption to residents and businesses, UK Power Networks has combined two projects together for 2.2km of the cable route. They will share the same trenches to avoid digging up the area twice.

The team will also use a new section of cable already installed in Penge High Street between Crystal Palace Park Road and Oakfield Road, to avoid roadworks in the High Street.

With support from the Greater London Authority, work is underway to identify opportunities to collaborate with other utilities to deploy a ‘dig-once’ approach. This will mean that at points, two or more utilities may work in a shared trench, avoiding multiple excavations over time and minimising disruption to residents, businesses and road users.

On Laurel Grove and Blean Road in Bromley, UK Power Networks has collaboratively planned joint works with Southern Gas Networks (SGN), saving residents months of potential disruption from streetworks. These collaborative schemes will be rolled out wherever possible along this and other major cable routes.

Deputy Mayor of London for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe CBE, says, “As the GLA, local authorities and utilities prioritise decarbonisation and affordable home delivery for London, it is important that the construction process also delivers benefits to local communities.

“Increased, long-term collaboration between infrastructure providers ensures that delivery is streamlined and as minimally disruptive as possible to Londoners. UK Power Networks and utilities working with the GLA are identifying ways to compound benefits to local residents as these cables are laid, including collaborating with SGN to deliver gas and power upgrades together in Bromley.

“I look forward to seeing UK Power Networks build on these efforts to collaborate across more of their major route network in London, meeting long-term infrastructure needs and working collectively towards net zero by 2030. The Mayor’s Infrastructure Coordination Service plays a crucial role helping utilities and other infrastructure providers collaborate.”

Kieran Coughlan, Director of Capital Programme at the electricity company, adds, “This is one of many projects that we are working on to enhance the resilience of the electricity network and cater for future demand.

“Investing in these projects benefits hundreds of thousands of customers who will have improved infrastructure in the south London area and may want to be using low-carbon technologies like EVs and heat pumps as the UK moves towards net zero.

“Working closely with stakeholders such as the Greater London Authority makes these investments run as smoothly and efficiently as possible, and we have ongoing collaboration and shared goals for the community.”

For more from UK Power Networks, click here.

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