Nautilus Interconnector



The recently published proposals by National Grid Ventures (NGV) concerning Nautilus Interconnector (to connect up to 1.4 GW of offshore wind in the UK to Belgium) combined with the planning applications for ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) East Anglia One North (EA1N) and East Anglia Two (EA2) offshore wind projects reveal the hard evidence that Suffolk Coast and Heaths is in grave danger of mass industrialisation. The onshore devastation can be seen all too clearly on the map above which shows kilometres of additional cable corridors gouging through our protected landscapes and a further converter station looming 24 metres high and concreting over an additional 12 acres of greenbelt land. This could impact on additional  communities including Theberton, Kelsale, Leiston, Sternfield, Snape  and Saxmundham.  (To be clear, SEAS are not in favour of any of the onshore routing and converter siting options that have been presented by NGV.  If NGV is truly committed to protecting rural coastal communities then they must bring forward a grid connection on a brownfield site.)

National Grid Ventures has finally published an interim Consultation Summary following their engagement with the community and local authorities in the consultations of October 2021 Nautilus Interconnector, Non-Statutory Consultation Feedback Summary, June 2022


The harsh reality is that this is just the beginning. There are currently eight offshore wind energy projects and interconnectors that are widely believed  to be planned to connect to the National Grid substation at Friston to form  an Energy Hub. With the addition of Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station,  this will be the largest complex of energy infrastructure in the UK. Effectively the industrialisation of Suffolk Coast and Heaths.


It is unclear why a currently unspoilt protected rural area, rich in wildlife  and with an important nature-based tourism economy (including  nearby Thorpeness and Aldeburgh) was chosen over a brownfield or industrialised site.

The destruction caused to the onshore environment, local tourist economy  and coastal communities is devastating. Each cable corridor will gouge  a motorway sized scar 9km inland, through the fragile cliffs north of  Thorpeness, across the Suffolk Coastal Path, the Suffolk Sandlings and the  Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to  arrive at the principal substation site, the medieval rural village of Friston.  This Energy Hub at Friston is being planned on a massive scale. The  substations planned for SPR’s projects alone are nearly 3 times the size of  Wembley Stadium.


The foundation of this Energy Hub and the multiple cable corridors cutting through these protected landscapes are SPRs two offshore wind projects.

If we can’t stop Scottish Power’s EA1N and EA2’s application or obtain a ‘Split Decision’ it will open the flood gates, Nautilus being the first to follow on.

As you know doubt will be aware, as of March 31st 2022, these two projects have now been consented.  However, we have not given up.  SEAS has now issued an application for judicial review seeking that the decisions of the Secretary of State are quashed on the basis that they were taken unlawfully. This is likely to be decided by the courts later this year.

If the onshore works of EA1N/2 are reconsidered then plans for the onshore infrastructure for Nautilus will at least have to go back at the drawing board.


Ultimately, the decision as to whether to reconsider the Applications of EA1N and EA2, after judicial review, lies with the Secretary of State. It is therefore vital to make the government aware of our grave concerns.  Please help and write now.

Nautilus Timeline

2020 – 2021
– Initial desktop studies and informal engagement

2021 – 2023    
– Feasibility studies and consultation on siting and routing options

2021 – 2023  
– Community consultation and Preliminary Environmental Information

– DCO application submitted to the Planning Inspectorate
– DCO application examined by the Planning Inspectorate

– Decision on the DCO application provided by the Secretary of State

– Final investment decision made
– Construction commences

– Commercial operation begins

The Way Forward - A Split Decision

SEAS has called on the Examining Authorities to recommend to the Secretary of State a ‘split decision’ so that:

  1. The offshore turbines are recommended for consent.
  2. The onshore infrastructure is rejected in favour of full consideration of better locations for this infrastructure where the adverse impacts are minimised at a brownfield or industrialised site.
The Way Forward - Offshore Integration

The benefits of an integrated offshore transmission network far outweigh any benefit gained from continuing with a radial transmission system.

Key Documents

East Anglian MPs write to the Minister of State for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change calling for an offshore grid. 20 May 2022

Crossed Wires:  Maintaining public support for offshore wind farms, Policy Exchange, July 2021

The Offshore Co-ordination Phase 1 Final Report, NGESO, 16 December 2020, NGESO:  “Adopting an integrated approach for all offshore projects to be delivered from 2025 has the potential to save consumers approximately £6 billion, or 18% in capital and operating expenditure between now and 2050”. Importantly, footnote 5 states, “This means applying an integrated approach to all offshore projects that have not yet received consent”.

Energy White Paper, Powering our Net Zero Future, December 2020

On 6 November 2020, in response to Mr Duncan Baker’s adjournment debate, the then Energy Minister, and now the newly appointed Secretary of State for the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Mr Kwarteng, made a very encouraging response and said, amongst other things:
- The offshore wind industry had evolved since 2015;
- There was a shift in the industry towards integration.
- Point to point transmission was recognised as having severe detrimental impacts onshore
- Technology was available to build an offshore integrated network
- Industry was engaged through the OTNR
- The argument for some form of offshore network has been won

In July 2020 the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy announced a major Review, the Offshore Transmission Network Review to address the barriers it presents to further significant development of offshore wind, with a view to achieving net zero.

The findings of the Integrated Offshore Transmission Project (East) 2015 Report concluded that an integrated offshore solution was in the interests of the UK as a whole.

It is illogical for further radial connections to the grid to be approved. The acutely detrimental impacts of radial connections must now be properly recognised in the Planning Balance.

What is a 'MOG'?  Is it the answer?, SEAS, June 2020

In the Press

UK National Grid in talks to build an energy island in the North Sea, New Scientist, 11 October 2021
'Money can't compensate' for disruption caused by offshore wind, campaigners say, EADT July 2021
Prime Minister says coast could be the 'Riyadh of offshore wind' in PMQs, EasternDaily Press, 24 February 20021
U.K. Power Grid Moving Offshore to Support $27 Billion Wind Boom, Bloomberg, December 2020
Outdated regulation is slowing investment in onshore electricity grid, The Guardian, 1 November 2020
Offshore Wind in UK – Roadmap Required, Offshore  Wind, October 26 2020
Change the way offshore wind farms connect and save billions - report finds, Eastern Daily Press, September 20 2020
Offshore wind blows hole in case for National Grid electricity role, The Times, October 8 2020
Modular Offshore Grid (MOG) - Can these ideas stop the countryside being dug up? Eastern Daily Press, June 27 2020
Norfolk MPs lobby Kwasi Kwarteng, Energy Minister at BEIS, SASES, 11 June 2020
Greenpeace suggests taking a more 'strategic approach' to offshore wind grid infrastructure, including increasing the number of grid connections to land shared between several projects, ReNEWS.BIZ, June 4 2020
Offshore Ring Main (ORM) feasibility study announced after Norfolk MPs met with Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng to discuss their concerns, Eastern Daily Press, June 2 2020


North Sea EU countries step up plans to harness wind power, Financial Times, 20 May 2022
Plans for Offshore Wind-to-Green Hydrogen Energy Islands in Germany and Denmark, 20 May 2022
Denmark maps seas for future offshore wind farms and energy islands, Recharge, June 8 2020
Denmark confirms massive wind plans for 'world's first energy islands' in North Sea and Baltic , Recharge May 20 2020
Denmark eyes 10GW offshore wind 'islands' in $45bn plan, Recharge, December 2019
North Seas ministers seek rules for meshed offshore wind grid, Recharge, December 4 2019


Growing chorus’ endorses multi-user transmission system, Riviera May 2020
Multi-user US offshore grid could 'save $1bn' ReNEWS.Biz,  May 2020
Report Finds $1B in Grid Upgrade Savings, Other Benefits in Planned Transmission Approach to Offshore Wind, Yahoo Finance, May 2020




11 Feb: Ralph Fiennes on the BBC talking about the campaign against substations

Laura Kuenssberg speaks to Ralph Fiennes about his recent environmental campaigning against building substations on greenfield sites.

19 Jan: SEAS on BBC Radio 4 PM programme with Evan Davis

Fiona Gilmore gets great balanced coverage + a poor response from National Grid.

9 Jan: SEAS launch our National Petition alongside a new Ralph Fiennes Film 'Coast'

Please sign and share our National Petition!  Alongside it is a brilliant new film 'COAST' made for SEAS by Ralph Fiennes and Director Charles Sturridge, with many film crew and animators also giving up their time for free. This film superbly captures what we have to lose and the key arguments why current plans must be changed.

27 Dec: EADT - National Grid ESO to consider study on SEAS proposals

SEAS Fiona Gilmore believes National Grid ESO will carry out a 'comparative study' into bringing the cables onshore at Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex VS a new substation at Friston.

19 Dec: BBC Article re SeaLink - SEAS quoted

Consultation on Suffolk-Kent Sea Link project ends after 1k responses. SEAS David McKenna says, "..the problem is over a number of decades the government has effectively surrendered control of this industry to the private sector."

18 Dec: SEAS Response to SeaLink Consultation

SEAS sent a detailed response to SeaLink about their recent Statutory Consultation, pushing back against their unsatisfactory consultation and misguided plans

7 Dec: SEAS in EADT - Concerns that OCSS wind farm funding will 'end Suffolk oasis'

SEAS is opposed to the on-shore element of coordination plans announced as part of the OCSS scheme. Fiona Gilmore said the group supported the idea of pooling cabling at sea, but said the electricity should instead be brought on shore at a brownfield site at the Isle of Grain in Kent.


29 Nov: ESNZ Commons Committee - 'A flexible grid for the future' with Fiona Gilmore

Examining how to reform the planning system to support the delivery of renewable energy generation, and what needs to be done to ensure the UK has the infrastructure it needs to deliver grid capacity for the future.

26 November: UK’s bid for net zero in the balance due to grid ‘blind spot'

“....why ride roughshod over all the environmental protections in place for this area when there are alternative routes?” David Riches, WALL

21 November: EADT Therese Coffey at SEAS meeting, 'unleashed' by resignation

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey told a SEAS campaigners' meeting she has been 'unleashed' to help community groups fighting plans to route electricity cables through the Suffolk countryside.

URGENT PUBLIC MEETING 17 NOV 7pm - Saxmundham’s Energy Projects

National Grid's plans to site 3 Converter Stations on the East side of Sax. SEAS Fiona Gilmore will present the offshore alternative to industrialising Suffolk Coastal.

9 November: BBC Radio Suffolk - Aldeburgh: The Sea Link proposals

Interviews from the Sealink public consultation - featuring SEAS David McKenna

9 November: Sealink- BBC 'Suffolk residents raise concerns about offshore Sea Link cable project'

National Grid is planning Sealink a 90-mile (145km) project connecting Friston and Richborough in Kent, including connection points on land, to take excess energy out of Suffolk which should go offshore closer to London

5 November: LionLink - Suffolk County Council criticises power cable scheme

Plans for a huge electricity cable to come onshore near protected sites were "wholly unacceptable", the council said.

24 October: SEALINK Statutory Consultation is live 24 Oct - 18 Dec 2023

SEALINK is an HVDC subsea transmission cable which takes EXCESS power from Friston to Kent. This is the FINAL stage of the process before a DCO (Development Consent Order) application in 2024 so do get involved.

21 October: EADT Government minister to return to Suffolk following Councils' letter

A Government minister Andrew Bowie will be returning to Suffolk next month after a letter signed by 37 councils called for 'greater engagement' on energy projects.

21 October: EADT 'Suffolk wind farm group granted Court of Appeal hearing'

SEAS believes Lord Justice Singh's decision will enable the case for an offshore grid to be advanced, instead of routing the cables from the East Anglia ONE and TWO wind farms through rural areas.

20 October: Court fight against $8bn Iberdrola mega-project cleared to continue

SEAS granted permission to appeal against an earlier decision by the High Court in London, that rejected its calls for a judicial review into UK government consent for substations being built, as part of Iberdrola’s offshore wind mega-project off eastern England.

9 October: New York Times article featuring SEAS

'Green Energy Casts a Shadow Over a Cherished English Landscape' - Stanley Read visited East Anglia, writing about how "residents of East Anglia fear that planned power lines for offshore wind projects will blight their rural idyll".

6 October: The Times on LionLink consultation, 'Celebrities join campaign against green energy cable at Suffolk village'

"Wind farm interconnector would help to power 1.8m homes, but Walberswick locals say it would be disastrous for the landscape, wildlife and tourism".

28 September: BBC Look East - Latest Energy News

Prime Minister Richi Sunak struggles to justify current plans for onshore wind infrastructure and nuclear

27 September: East Suffolk Council Energy Debate

Meeting of the Full Council on Wednesday, 27 September 2023 - Agenda Documents HERE

27 September: Fantastic turnout to LionLink consultations

Recent consultation events in Reydon/Southwold and Walberswick saw over 700 locals showed up to oppose LionLink’s ridiculous plans.

25 September: Great Libby Purves Time Article

Lack of energy plan risks panic-bulldozing - It’s time Government laid out what infrastructure is needed where, or we will rush into destroying our countryside

25 September: Article in The Sun - Walberswick being destroyed

LOCALS in the seaside village of Walberswick which is home to a number of celebs say it’s being destroyed by huge trenches which are as wide as a motorway.

22 September: BBC Radio4 Today - Electricity infrastructure / Offshore Grid

Prof Nick Butler Energy Economist and Rosie Pearson from Pylons interviewed about Britain's energy infrastructure

7 August: Press Release re Winser Report

Winser Report - Independent recommendations from the UK’s Electricity Networks Commissioner, Nick Winser, on how to accelerate the deployment of electricity transmission infrastructure.

30 July: SEAS Commentary on the 27 July 2023 OTNR Report

The OTNR took three years to be completed heralding new policy reforms for a Future Framework, at last a master plan in the making.

27 July: DESNZ publishes response to OTNR consultation

Offshore Transmission Network Review: proposals for an enduring regime and multi-purpose interconnectors

27 July: Ørsted already building trench for Hornsea Three wind farm

Carving of 80m wide trench through Norfolk countryside begins (eventually 53km long)

21 July: Joint letter with Pylons to Andrew Bowie correcting National Grid's costings

We correct National Grid's disingenuous Offshore Grid costings for East Anglia

19 July: PRESS RELEASE re JR decision and Appeal

SEAS were disappointed re the JR judgment but having reviewed it with legal team have decided to proceed with an Appeal.

16 July: Emails to Grant Shapps urging OFFSET MPs meeting

SEAS and many supporters emailed urging a meeting before MPs summer recess

26 Jun: Fiona Gilmore on BBC Radio Suffolk re Offshore Grid

National Grid launch a public consultation about Norwich to Tilbury pylons, Fiona Gilmore speaks to Luke Deal about the offshore grid alternative.

17 May: Positive meeting with Nuclear & Networks Minister Andrew Bowie MP

After four years of invitations to successive energy Ministers SEAS finally met face to face to discuss an Offshore Grid

5 May: Greens sweep East Suffolk Council Elections

Congratulations to Aldeburgh & Leiston's new East Suffolk Councillors: Tom Daly (Energy & Climate Change ), Katie Graham (Communities. Leisure, Tourism) and Sarah Whitelock. Also to Caroline Topping the new ESC Leader

29 Mar: Therese Coffey presents her petition to the House of Commons

Signed by 3,821 people, the petition requests a comparative study for East Anglia of offshore transmission network designs, including with landfall at brownfield sites, properly assessing environmental impacts before current energy proposals are taken further.

8 Mar: National Grid ESO announces Offshore Transmission routes review for East Anglia

Essex, Suffolk & Norfolk Community Groups are jointly demanding a review of an offshore grid linking ALL of East Anglia’s windfarms & interconnectors to offshore energy platforms, subsea cabling power to suitable brownfield landing sites.

Ireland announces Offshore Wind Policy

Their plan requires future offshore wind farms to be built in Designated Marine Areas, and proposes they will connect to offshore substations designed and built by EirGrid. Britain needs to set up the independent FSO in 2023 and do the same.

Green energy revolt threatens Tory support in minister's backyard

BBC journalist Joshua Nevett recently interviewed SEAS Fiona Gilmore as part of a local tour

SEAS co-sign a letter to Graham Stuart with Norfolk Parishes and East Anglia Pylons

SEAS call for Graham Stuart to seize the opportunity presented by developers such as Orsted seeking to renegotiate their contracts for difference.

Court of Appeal grant SEAS permission to proceed to Judicial Review

SEAS Reply to Minister Graham Stuart's 16 Jan letter pinpoints why it is disingenuous and full of false promises.

Fantastic article  'An Offshore Grid is no fantasy' in the East Anglian Daily Times (30 Jan 2023), based on a letter from SEAS founder Fiona Gilmore.

Jerome Mayhew MP at Sheringham Shoal & Dudgeon DCO Open Hearing 17 Jan 2023, calling for an Offshore Transmission Network for East Anglia, cumulative impact assessment and connection point renegotiation.

SEAS Response to National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) consultation on Sea Link Interconnector - 18 December 2022

SEAS Response to National Grid Ventures (NGV) consultation on Eurolink Interconnector - 18 December 2022

2022 Review Newsletter: A Review of the Year's Achievements and Festive Greetings to All

SEAS Letter to National Grid CEO John Pettigrew about what needs to happen next - 4 December 2022

Environment secretary calls for a review of Suffolk energy projects - 6 December 2022

Libby Purves' article in The Times sums up Therese Coffey meeting perfectly
Great letter in The Times from Derek Wyatt regarding the Therese Coffey public meeting 25 November

SEAS Fiona Gilmore on BBC Radio Suffolk Oct 24th re National Grid's public consultations for Sealink & Eurolink

SEAS Fiona Gilmore on ITV Anglia News Oct 24th live from Friston & Snape re National Grid's public consultations for Sealink & Eurolink
Tony Lodge, Centre for Policy Studies believes we need a public inquiry into this energy disaster.

‘Years of ministerial dithering alongside bad planning have helped deliver the perfect storm’

"SASES strongly supports offshore wind and has only taken this action due to the deep flaws in the onshore aspects of these projects and the associated decision making"  SASES

As of early evening on 31 March 2022, ScottishPower Renewables East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two offshore wind projects have been consented.

A difficult time for many and for those directly affected, hard to bear.

We have all challenged and opposed with reason, emotion and determination.  Sadly, our voices did not prevail.

"It is a total disaster for this area and by implication the rest of the UK ... We are suggesting we can find brownfield sites, clean them up and build the hubs there, not in this kind of pristine ancient farm land."

Onshore eyesores that come with offshore wind farms to be shrunk.

Plan to reduce unsightly infrastructure such as cables, substations and pylons in government push to get coastal communities onside.

Legal action threatened over wind farms

Communities in Suffolk are threatening legal action.  SEAS has sent a pre-action protocol letter to Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng urging a rethink before seeking permission to apply for a judicial review.

Campaigners 'devastated' after two large wind farms off Suffolk coast given consent.

"This is extremely bad news for the area ... We're thinking about taking this decision to a judicial review."  Fiona Gilmore SEAS

The decision would mean "the devastation of Friston and east Suffolk ... It will mean the loss of 100 acres of farmland at Friston to build the substation."  SASES


Concern over imminent decision on wind farms ...

... we are proud of having renewables at sea. We are very proud of it, but we believe that there are better solutions for the sub-stations, not just for habitats and the environment, but also for the local economy ..."  Fiona Gilmore, SEAS

"We are recommending brownfield sites ... and have requested a split decision ... to prevent the loss of land designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty ..." Sarah Courage, Kelsale

"Wind energy can be gathered from three or four windfarms at offshore platforms and brought to brownfield hubs ..."  Fiona Gilmore, SEAS

Celebrities speak out against onshore energy hub

"Sir ... A split decision is suggested, to continue building wind turbines but to pivot to offshore integrated cabling to brownfield sites."

Dame Joanna Lumley and actor Ralph Fiennes have warned in a joint letter that two planned wind farms off the Suffolk coast could see an area of beautiful countryside "disappear under a sea of concrete".


The largest onshore energy hub in the UK is anything but green. Developers have chosen an outdated, cheap, easy location for their own benefit. There is a better way forward. Energy can be taken to a brownfield site, closer to London where it is needed.

Green Party, Liberal Democrat and Independent councillors at  East Suffolk Council have said further work should be paused ...

"I understand this is a big challenge for Government and developers but our communities really do need to see some action now, after what has been a lot of talking, it is time to get a grip." 

"If this means calling a pause to further onshore activity until strategic co-ordination is in place, then so be it"  
East Anglian Daily Times, 10 February 2022

At last, a journalist Laura Hughes, has taken time to visit, interview and research in to the particular problems associated with substations and how power from different wind farms can now be integrated at sea and brought to land via a reduced number of cables with brownfield sites used for clustering substations and inter-connectors.
Suffolk residents and Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council rail against plans for Nautilus onshore energy project in East Suffolk, 12 January 2022

Interview with SEAS biodiversity expert Dr. Gill Horrocks  The podcast highlights the importance of balancing our need for renewable energy with the need to look after irreplaceable landscapes that bring a richness not just to wildlife but to human habitation and to our communities and to people's quality of life.

National Grid Ventures and Nautilus Interconnector between Suffolk and Belgium.

"Greener solution tabled to replace ‘destructive’ Suffolk energy plans", New Civil Engineer, 20 September 2021

"The onshore aspects of these projects must be rejected"  The Rt Hon Dr Therese Coffey MP

Campaigners call for 'split decision' over Suffolk windfarm projects, East Anglian Daily Times, 19 July 2021

The terrifying scale of ground investigation works at the substation site of Friston. A tiny foretaste of what is to come if we do not stop these plans.

Interviews with Sarah Bardwell, Andrew Heald, Jason Gathorne-Hardy, Maggi Hambling, George Pell, Jenny Hall, Tony Bone and others.

New Policy Exchange Report, touts East Coast of England as the best place for an integrated 'Pathfinder' project.

Our congratulations to the two newly elected Councillors for East Suffolk Council.  Notably both candidates support a ‘Split Decision’ as a way forward.

Campaign With Us

We are asking you to write, to the Secretary of State for the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ), see full details HERE

A National Grid Converter Station under construction (Viking Interconnector).  Nautilus  converter station is planned to a height of up to 24 metres over a site of 12 acres.  Unnecessary destruction if it doesn’t go to a brownfield site.

Yes to Offshore Wind Energy, Let's Do it Right