Consultation dates for National Grid converter station plan at wildlife rich Minster marshes

Proposed converter site Photo Nik Mitchell

Dates for a statutory public consultation over National Grid plans to build a 60,000 square metre (6 hectares) onshore converter station at Minster marshes in the Stour Valley have now been released.

The Sea Link project involves creating a subsea electricity cable between Suffolk and Kent which National Grid says will help deliver the UK’s energy security strategy and net zero targets.

The proposals outline a preferred route of 10km of onshore and 140km of undersea cables, together with potential landfall and converter station locations at Friston substation in Suffolk and at Richborough.

National Grid’s preferred route runs from a landfall in Pegwell Bay to a proposed converter station site and high voltage pylons over the land to the south of Minster.

Th converter station will be 26 metres high and have external equipment such as lightning protection and walkways. A new substation would be built adjacent to it.

Some overhead lines will be removed and replaced with new lines from the converter to the existing Richborough to Canterbury line.

Statutory consultation opens tomorrow (October 24) and runs until December 18.

There will be in-person events, people can book a video or phone appointment, maps and information will be on the website at, there will be webinars and people can fill in feedback forms.

Adrian Pierssene, Project Director for Sea Link, said: “This reinforcement between Suffolk and Kent is essential in the UK’s journey to net zero by 2050 and is part of a wider programme to upgrade the entire network. We look forward to hearing views from members of the public and we welcome feedback on our proposals.”

In person events in Thanet will be:

Wednesday 15 November, 2.30pm-7.30pm at Cliffsend village hall, 55 Foads Lane

Thursday 16 November, noon until 5.30pm at Minster village hall, 1 High Street

Friday 17 November, 10am to 3pm at Guildhall, Cattle Market, Sandwich

Wednesday 29 November, 2pm-7pm at Cliffsend village hall

Saturday 2 December, 11am to 3pm at Royal Harbour Academy (upper site) Marlowe Way, Ramsgate

Plus in-person ‘ask the experts’ session at Royal Harbour Academy on December 1, 5pm-8.30pm.

Webinars for the Kent part of the scheme

Thursday 26 October, 6pm-7pm

Wednesday 1 November, 2pm-3pm

Sign up for webinars on the National Grid website

Nik Mitchell

Conservation enthusiasts say development at the Stour Valley and Minster marshes area will have a massive impact on wildlife.

Nik Mitchell, from Wildlife Conservation in Thanet, said: “The Stour Valley is one of the most important places for wildlife in the whole of Kent and I cannot emphasise that enough. the area planed for the converter station is full of rare fauna, flora and fungi.

“It won’t just be the footprint of the converter station that impacts on the area it will be all the infrastructure required for it, such as roads, lighting, and overhead power line.

“The buildings will be destroying and covering the habitat in hardstanding and the power lines are a permanent bird strike hazard.

“We are all well aware that our grid needs significant upgrades and will help us get to carbon neutral but what they want to build and where they want to build it would lead to a big loss and have a big impact on our environment.

Photo Nik Mitchell

“We really must protect our Stour Valley. It’s already under pressure from pollution and intensive farming. We have many extremely rare birds, mammals and reptiles there. We even have turtle dove there and they are the fastest-declining bird in the UK.

“We also have nightingale, all species of our native owls, peregrine falcon, ravens, grass snakes, lizards, slow worms, newts, bats, brown hare and many special plants too. This area is special and it’s my favourite place to go and surround myself in what’s left of nature.”

The area is next to a site of special scientific interest and an important site for over-wintering birds which get driven off Pegwell and Sandwich bay at high tide and by bad weather. There are scores of bird species including jack snipes, skylarks, woodcock, breeding turtle doves, black stork, common crane, curlews and many more.

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale

In a letter to the Secretary of State North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale says the Nemo Link – also at Richborough – “has proved an environmental disaster.” He adds: “National Grid is now proposing a Sea Link project which is anything but a sea link and reliant  very heavily upon not only the installation of a massive transformer station on or adjacent to SSSI….but also then to the installation of further (rather than duplicating use) pylons across east Kent.

“This is a cheapskate and unnecessary approach.”

Thanet District Council is a statutory consultee for the proposal and will be providing a written representation as part of the public consultation.

Further work will be needed if the application is submitted for examination by National Grid to the Planning Inspectorate, including the production of a Local Impact Report.

Thanet District Council does not decide whether the scheme is approved or refused.

Converter stations contain specialist electrical equipment; some must be located indoors in buildings, potentially up to 30m tall, while some could be outdoors or in smaller buildings. The total footprint of the converter station is approximately 6 hectares but additional land will be needed during construction.

National Grid says it is necessary to carry out works to upgrade the network. The firm says: “We are at the initial development stage of our Sea Link project which seeks to reinforce and strengthen the network between Friston in Suffolk and Richborough in Kent to carry renewable and low carbon power to homes and businesses.

“We developed much of the existing network in East Anglia and Kent in the 1960s and it does not have sufficient capacity to carry future renewable and low carbon power that’s forecasted to connect to the network – from offshore wind, interconnectors and nuclear power.

“We need to upgrade the electricity network to carry this extra power.”

Documents available at:

Minster Library (4a Monkton Rd, Minster, Ramsgate CT12 4EA)

Monday 1pm–5pm, Tuesday and Sunday 9:30am–1:30pm, Thursday 12pm–5pm, Friday 10am–4pm

Sandwich Library (13 Market St, Sandwich CT13 9DA)

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9:30am–5pm, Saturday 9:30am–3pm

Ramsgate Library (Guildford Lawn, Ramsgate CT11 9AY)

Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9:30am–5:30pm, Thursday 9:30am–4:30pm, Saturday 9:30am–3:30pm

Newington Library (Royal Harbour Academy, Stirling Way, Ramsgate CT12 6FA)

Monday and Thursday 9am–1pm and 2pm–5:30pm, Tuesday and Saturday 9am–1pm

Margate Library (Cecil Street, Margate, CT9 1RE)

Monday, Thursday and Friday 10am–5:30pm, Tuesday and Wednesday 10am–5pm, Saturday 10am–3:30pm

Thanet District Council (Cecil Street, Margate CT9 1AY)

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 8:45am–5pm


The Sea Link project needs to obtain a development consent order (DCO) via an application to the Planning Inspectorate.

The Secretary of State is expected to make a decision in 2025 with construction then taking place, if granted, between 2026 and 2030.


A campaign page Save Minster Marshes has been set up by George Cooper on facebook for those who want to fight the proposals.

Find Save Minster Marshes here

Public meetings with campaigners

A local meeting organised by Thanet Greens will discuss the proposals on Monday 30th October at Radford House, Effingham Street, Ramsgate, from 7.30pm.

On Wednesday, November 1 another meeting will be held at Parkminster tea rooms in Minster, 7.30pm-9pm and a third meeting will be held on November 2, St Mary’s Church in Sandwich, from 7.30pm to 9pm.

Find the National Grid plans on its website here and on the Planning Inspectorate site here


  1. “The proposals outline a preferred route …”
    What are options “B”, “C” and so on? Surely alternatives have been considered?
    It seems that option “A” would be an environmental disaster, both during construction and operation.
    I’ve no doubt that with the move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, schemes such as this will be necessary.
    Whatever happens at Manston, for example, it’s a huge site, with plenty of space to accommodate some or all of this equipment. Or reuse the Winter Gardens site and bury the converter equipment underground.

  2. It seems a sensible and proactive decision helping towards the UK’s net zero targets. If renewable electricity from offshore wind farms, and power from the nuclear facility can be transferred to the SE with its higher population density it seems a sensible solution. As always there will have to be some eco mitigations, but as this is essentially an eco project, people should think carefully on all the arguments for and against.

  3. Just get on with it and stop wasting time and money on listening to armchair “experts” who think they know it all yet they know nothing. Now they have lost their case against Manston Airport they will inevitably move on to another moan. In this apartment at my London address on the riverside of the Thames I have ships going past with their horns blasting and smoke coming out of their funnels. No one here moans we all love it. In our other house in Ramsgate we think what a lovely town and harbour but unfortunately it has more than its share of miserable people who seem to make a career out of moaning about everything.

      • If I owned a house in Ramsgate and a riverside apartment in London, I wouldn’t be crass enough to tell the unfortunate inhabitants of Thanet – some of whom don’t actually have a home at all- about it.

    • Lol

      Its Bill’s way or no way it would seem !.

      Why Bill would want to live in a dictatorship I dont know. But I guess he is happy and thinks the world should all agree with his point of view.

      The same Bill that wants manston open believes in a stuck off solicitor and never answers any points raised about its viability

  4. There will be plenty of noise coming from those converters, constant loud humming and vibration so wildlife will definitely decline. Always seems to be the cheapest option and most distruction first

    • It’s not just in Thanet that vast numbers of house are being built. Just about anywhere in England where there’s a bit of flat land is getting its quota of 1000s of houses.

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