National Grid Cable Decommissioning Project

Update 3 November

We would like to update you about our plans to remove the cables along the Grand Union Canal towpath.

Following an extensive internal review of our options and feedback from the local community about our plans, National Grid and the Canal & River Trust have decided to keep the existing electricity cables in place until the end of their lease. This is in order to ensure that those who live or work near the canal are not impacted by our works.

We will continue to monitor the cables to ensure there is no impact on the local environment.

We may consider removing the cables ahead of the lease ending, if there is a suitable opportunity to coordinate our activities with another organisation, in order to help minimise overall disruption to the area. This would be agreed with the Canal & River Trust.

Our wider London Cable Decommissioning programme will continue as planned between Tottenham and St Johns Wood, St John’s Wood and Ealing and Ealing and Wimbledon.

If you have any questions regarding the works, or would like further information, please contact our community relations team on 0800 161 5035 or email Our phone line is operational from Monday to Friday, 9am–5.30pm

 The Project

National Grid will start a two-year phased programme of essential works to remove old cables laid beneath the towpath of the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal and the Regent's Canal.

As part of the works, waterways and wellbeing charity Canal & River Trust has agreed with National Grid that the towpath surface will be upgraded and, where possible, widened to a minimum width of two metres.

The capital’s towpaths are more popular than ever as a place for Londoners to get a breath of fresh air. These upgrades will allow more people to use them and enjoy the unique health and wellbeing benefits that result from being next to water.

The oil filled cables, which have reached the end of their useful life, are no longer needed to supply London and have been replaced by the now operational London Power Tunnels (LPT) a new network of electricity cable tunnels in the capital. The project was commissioned in 2018 and opened by HRH the Prince of Wales. Removal of the cables will help to safeguard the local environment and waterways from any potential damage in the future.

Towpath closure and mooring suspension

The first phase in the removal of the cables from the towpath is due to begin on 1 September 2020 on the Grand Union Canal Paddington Arm at Old Oak Lane, gradually working two kilometres east towards Scrubs Lane. Due to limited access along the towpath and the complexities of the work the Trust will have to close this section of canal towpath until early November. A towpath diversion will be clearly signposted and the Trust would urge anyone using the towpath to factor in a little extra time to make the journey.

The works will affect boaters moored along the Oak Lane to Scrubs Lane section of towpath. The Trust will be asking boaters not to moor in this section, as there will be a mooring suspension in place.


It is important to note that this is the first phase of a project that has a total expected length of two years and will ultimately see the removal of the cables along approximately seven kilometres of towpath between Old Oak Lane and Lisson Grove. The works along the canal towpaths are part of a wider two-year programme by National Grid to decommission cables between Tottenham and Wimbledon.

Before September the National Grid will be doing survey works that will not affect the canal towpath or boats. All access will be maintained during this period.


National Grid is leading on a community engagement and stakeholder consultation programme, anyone who wishes to make any comments or observations should contact their Community Relations team on 0800 161 5035 between 09:00 and 17:30 or alternatively by email at