Public consultation closed at the end of last year for Sea Link, a proposed largely offshore 145km cable connection between Kent and Suffolk.

The project is part of National Grid’s extensive programme of improvements to the UK’s electricity transmission network – known as The Great Grid Upgrade.

Sea Link will carry low-carbon energy generated by offshore wind, interconnectors and nuclear power to where it’s needed in East Anglia and across the UK.

Consultation feedback is now being assessed by National Grid as it continues to shape plans for the proposed cable connection.

Lydia Tabrizi, marine consents officer, is among those considering the responses from local communities and other key stakeholders.

“A lot of my time at the moment is spent reviewing the consultation feedback and discussing whether it could be implemented in the design of the project,” said Lydia.

“Sometimes it will be an idea we’ve already looked into, and sometimes it takes more research to find out whether that feedback is feasible or not.”

Gazette: Lydia Tabrizi, marine consents officer at National GridLydia Tabrizi, marine consents officer at National Grid (Image: National Grid)
Lydia completed a degree in marine biology at Bangor University in 2016, followed by a master’s in marine environmental protection.

Early in her career, she worked for both the RNLI and RSPB, before landing an internship at the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, as part of the Crown Estates Marine Futures programme – which was the launchpad for her marine career.

In two and half years at Natural England, Lydia went on to lead development consent order (DCO) casework for major projects in the Southern North Sea. These included the Boston Alternative Energy Facility as well as the East Anglia THREE, East Anglia TWO and East Anglia ONE North offshore wind farms.

She also volunteered as a training course co-ordinator for MARINElife, a charity dedicated to global cetacean and seabird research.

It has all laid a solid foundation for Lydia’s role at National Grid, which she assumed in June 2022.

“My role is to have an environmental influence on the design of the cable, whether that’s routeing, seasonal restrictions or implementing mitigation.

“For example, the engineers might want to route a cable directly from A to B, and it’s my job to let them know if there is a marine-protected area to consider or whether they need to avoid installing cables between certain months of the year because they might affect overwintering birds.”

Gazette: Members of National Grid’s consents team at a Sea Link consultation eventMembers of National Grid’s consents team at a Sea Link consultation event (Image: National Grid)
The first stage of consenting is an “in-depth routeing and sighting study”, Lydia explained.

“We may have 10 routes to get from A to B, for example, and we’ll appraise each of those routes to take into account navigation areas, aggregate extraction areas, renewable energy projects and marine protected areas, for example.

“If there are any mobile bedforms, shipwrecks, or anything of cultural interest, we will also try to avoid these things in the first instance.”

Lydia draws on her own knowledge – and a number of other resources – to inform any changes to the project design.

“I have discussions with Natural England, but I also try and influence internally what I think they would say before we approach them in the first place.

“There’s also a seasonal restrictions table on the Natural England website that tells you when there are birds breeding in each marine protected area – so we can look at that and see how all the different restrictions come into play together.”

This is supplemented by a comprehensive marine survey, which is still in progress for the Sea Link project.

“The survey data will feed into our environmental statement, which forms part of our DCO application,” said Lydia. “It may also influence changes to the cable route.”

For more information on Sea Link, please visit


This article is part of LOCALiQ's Clean & Green campaign, which aims to promote our region as the biggest in the UK and Europe for all forms of renewable energy.