If you look through the Land Use maps for the proposed Lower Thames Crossing you will notice a very random development boundary area in the Bulphan vicinity. We have highlighted the area with a yellow circle in the image below!
It appears to be shaded in light blue which according to the map legend and details we have been given by Highways England would suggest it is being proposed for use in relation to Utilities. It doesn’t connect to the rest of the main development boundary.
Page 12/15 on map https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/ltc/consultation-2020/supporting_documents/LAND%20USE%20PLANS%20FOR%20LAND%20AND%20PROPERTY.pdf shows the area in more detail.
We asked HE why this random development boundary exists on the maps. The response we got is:
“The area near Bulphan which you have circled has been included in our development boundary as we need to replace and upgrade the cables on the overhead power lines at this location. This will allow us to provide enough power to our proposed construction sites.”
We have replied to this info and asked for further clarification as to exactly what would need to be done, whether it will have any visual impact in the area, any changes to the pylons, any susbstation etc that might be in the area. We also asked if local residents would be impacted by any loss of power during the upgrade work, and if so for how long.
We have asked for clarification as to why it is this area specifically that needs upgrading, as it seems very strange that the part they are upgrading doesn’t appear to be directly connected to the main development boundary area!
We will of course update you as we get more info, but due to the length of time it is taking to get some replies, we wanted to start sharing this info, especially in light of the fact we are now just past the half way mark of the 8 week consultation.
Update 6th March 2020
Highways England have just provided us with further info as a response to our last email regarding this random section of development boundary in Bulphan.
“The proposed works in this location would be to upgrade power supplies to the proposed construction compounds. This section is a weak link in what is a network of significant length the remainder of the network is of sufficient size to provide the power.
The existing poles will remain in their existing location unless they have decayed and require changing in which case this will be undertaken as part of these works, should the poles be changed they will be adjacent to the existing and in line with works that UKPN would normally undertake as part of maintenance of their assets. The overhead line will be strung with new conductor to provide the increase in capacity, visually there will be minimal difference.
Any short-term power outages would be planned by the utility company undertaking the works, with advance notice provided in line with the utility company’s policies and procedures. Utility companies would take into account vulnerable customers needs when works are planned and implemented.”