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Works starts on £30million scheme to boost power supplies to Suffolk and Essex

The foundations of an Iron Age round house have been discovered during work to lay two underground electricity cables and remove overhead lines to boost power supplies to Felixstowe, Shotley and Harwich.

From Press releases - 10 October 2016 12:00 AM

Felixstowe project.jpg


The foundations of an Iron Age round house have been discovered during work to lay two underground electricity cables and remove overhead lines to boost power supplies to Felixstowe, Shotley and Harwich.

This year UK Power Networks is investing more than £500m in its networks which ensure the lights stay on in the East of England, South East and London. As part of that, work has begun on the first phase of a local investment scheme which will see:

• the removal of 21km of overhead lines, which will improve the appearance of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Special Protection Areas along the rivers and coastline.
• two circuits of 16km of 132,000-volt cable laid between Ipswich and Felixstowe
• two circuits of 10.5km of 33,000-volt cable laid between Nacton and Felixstowe
• new equipment installed near Levington to improve reliability of supplies to the Martlesham area

Phase two of the £30million scheme, which is due to start mid 2017, will see:

• directional drilling under the rivers Orwell and Stour – a distance of 1.1km and 1.7km respectively – effectively linking the peninsulas together, and
• 12km of 33,000-volt cable laid between Felixstowe, Shotley and Harwich.

Chris Sugars, project manager at UK Power Networks, said: “We’re delighted to be starting this project which will increase the capacity to the area and meet its growing demands for decades to come.

“As large swathes of the land adjoining the rivers is of historic and natural importance, we have liaised with numerous organisations. The final archaeological investigations are now being carried out, ahead of the project starting in earnest, to safeguard any possible ancient artefacts which are preserved in the ground.

“The archaeologists have so far found the foundations of an Iron Age round house and will continue to uncover and record any sites of interest along a nine kilometre stretch of farm land before the trenches are dug for the cables.”

Chris added: “The project is very challenging, not least because we will be drilling beneath two rivers and laying more than 35km of cable in total.” 

 “We are working closely with local councils regarding all the work we are doing. While there will be some traffic disruption in both Shotley and Dovercourt during the second phase of the project, we aim to keep this to a minimum and it is for a long term benefit to about 45,000 customers in south Suffolk and north Essex.”

Abby Antrobus, Suffolk County Council’s senior archaeological officer, said: “We have been pleased to work with UK Power Networks and Albion Archaeology to design the programme of work to record sites of interest along the route.

“The project gives a transect through the archaeological landscape along the Felixstowe Peninsula, investigating prehistoric, Roman and Medieval sites that have been identified through cropmarks and the systematic evaluation trenching.

“We are pleased that UK Power Networks has taken a responsible approach to the project and their route avoids major areas of archaeology.”

The entire project will be completed by the end of 2018.