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£7 million cable network upgrade set for South London

UK Power Networks is set to replace 4.5 kilometres of underground cables between Sydenham Park and Churchfields Road in South London.

UK Power Networks is set to replace 4.5 kilometres of underground cables between Sydenham Park and Churchfields Road in South London with a £7 million investment. 

The installation of new 33,000-volt cables is designed to sustain reliable power supplies as the uptake of low carbon technologies, including heat pumps and electric vehicle (EV) chargers, increases in the area. Recent figures from the Department for Transport show a significant increase in EV registrations in Lewisham and Bromley, rising by 80% annually since 2018.

The project, which began in March, is expected to last approximately 22 months, concluding at Churchfields Road. 

Alun Read, Project Development Manager at UK Power Networks, noted, “This is one of several key schemes we are undertaking across London and the South East over the next five years. The successful completion of these projects will ensure a more reliable network capable of meeting future demands, facilitating further installations of EV charging points, heat pumps, renewable generation, and battery storage facilities.”

To minimise local disruption, UK Power Networks is consolidating this project with another for 2.2km of the route, using the same trenches to prevent repeated excavations. Furthermore, a segment of pre-installed cable in Penge High Street will be utilised to avoid additional roadworks.

Efforts are also being made to coordinate with other utilities for a ‘dig-once’ strategy, which involves multiple utilities sharing trenches where feasible, significantly reducing the impact on the community. In Bromley, for instance, joint works with Southern Gas Networks (SGN) on Laurel Grove and Blean Road are expected to save residents from prolonged disruptions.

Jules Pipe CBE, Deputy Mayor of London for Planning, Regeneration, and Skills, emphasised the importance of such collaborations, “As we focus on decarbonisation and affordable home delivery, it’s crucial that the construction process also benefits local communities. Collaborative initiatives between infrastructure providers like UK Power Networks and SGN in Bromley exemplify this approach.”

Kieran Coughlan, Director of Capital Programme at the electricity company, stated, “We are committed to enhancing the resilience of the electricity network to support the anticipated demand increases. This investment will improve infrastructure for hundreds of thousands of customers in South London, who are increasingly adopting low-carbon technologies as the UK progresses towards its net zero goals.”

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