Concern about noise from new electricity sub-stations

Noise from electricity sub-stations proposed for the outskirts of Uckfield because of the scale of development was a concern raised at an online meeting yesterday.

Two meetings were hosted by National Grid to share details of plans for two new sub-stations and two new pylons – with the removal of an existing one – at the junction of Eastbourne Road with the A22 Uckfield by-pass.

One of the slides shown at an online meeting yesterday, about proposals for two electricity sub-stations on the outskirts of Uckfield, to give examples of similar sub-stations.

Concern was expressed, at a meeting in the morning – another was held in the evening – by one resident about the possibility of a low frequency hum emanating continually from the site.

The resident asked about sound mitigation, in addition to visual screening already mentioned, and said: “It is quiet here at night despite being close to the A22 and I am concerned about this sound.”

A blue star marks the site of the proposed electricity sub-stations at the junction of Eastbourne Road with the A22 Uckfield by-pass. The dotted line shows National Grid’s existing overhead line which will remain in place.

Jamie Leigh Townsend, National Grid consents officer, said work had begun on an assessment of operational noise and that would take into account the fact that the area was “very quiet” at night-time.

Once the information was available mitigation would be considered.

She said it could be that a noise enclosure would be built around super grid transformers, the equipment usually associated as being the noisiest, to reduce impact.

The resident responded: “I think this is really essential. This is not just a little sub station, it is a big one, two big ones really. I do hope you will put a sound enclosure as described around it.”

A villager from Halland asked if the development would make a difference to regular power cuts there and whether there would be any benefit to the community from what was “quite a big infrastructure project”.

Would there, for example, be a charge such as the Community Infrastructure Levy against the development?

The resident said that when a solar farm was built “down the road” the parish council was given £25,000.

Liam O’Sullivan, head of programme management and delivery for UK Power Networks said the new substations would reinforce the network providing benefit to broader as well as more localised areas.

He offered to investigate current power supply issues in Halland.

Sarah Harris, National Grid regional external affairs manager, said the company liked to leave a legacy for communities impacted by their work and a fund offering grants of up to £10,000 would be available if planning permission was given for the development.

The meeting was told that one of the sub stations would be for National Grid to bring in electricity from power stations, wind farms, and renewable sources, through a network of high voltage electricity lines.

The other sub station would be for UK Power Networks to connect to the network, reduce the voltage and distribute to homes, improving the electricity supply and to meet increased demand.

One pylon on the site will be dismantled and eventually the development would allow for the removal of 72 UK Power Networks pylons – not those in the nearby line though – including ten from the South Downs National Park.

Map showing the proposed planning application area for two new substations on the corner of Eastbourne Road and the A22 Uckfield by-pass.

The aim is to submit the planning application in late autumn. If approved preparatory work, including ground clearance, would take place in 2021 with an 18-month construction programme beginning in January 2022.

More online meetings are due to be held via the video conferencing platform Zoom on Thursday, September 10, at 11am and 6pm so that people can share feedback on the proposals and ask further questions.

To register your place for these virtual information sessions, or if you have any questions, please contact National Grid’s community relations team on 0800 6525 180 or email

National Grid has a website page for the project, which contains key information and relevant documents. It can be found here.

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