Brexit ‘could threaten plan for power plant’

What the interconnector IFA2 site at Daedalus in Lee-on-the-Solent would look like
What the interconnector IFA2 site at Daedalus in Lee-on-the-Solent would look like
Picture: Shaun Roster

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TWO projects to bring French electricity to Britain may be in jeopardy due to fears surrounding Brexit, according to an energy expert.

The links, which would bring energy from France via under sea cables, are part of plans by National Grid.

One centre, called IFA2 and costing £500m, has been earmarked for the Daedalus site, a former navy airfield owned by Fareham Borough Council, near Stubbington.

However, energy consultant Clive Moffatt told The Times that the plan had been thrown into doubt due to ‘definite uncertainty’ over how Brexit would affect the cost of importing or exporting electricity.

National Grid told the newspaper the IFA2 project was still expected to proceed, but it said French regulator CRE had asked for more time to hold a consultation.

A spokesman told The Times: ‘The UK vote to leave the EU in June 2016 happened after the incentive regulation application that RTE made for IFA2 and so it is understandable and reasonable that CRE, given its responsibilities, would now consult stakeholders on how Brexit could impact the regulatory incentives for the project in the coming years.’

Fareham’s council leader Sean Woodward said the plans were still on track, and they would be going to the council’s planning committee next month.

He said: ‘There is absolutely nothing in this at all. There are regulatory processes being followed in France, but that is all.’

The IFA2 has attracted criticism with more than 1,000 people objecting to it due to its size, scale and potential environmental impacts, plus the negative effect it could have on the nearby airport.

Bill Hutchison, from Hill Head Residents’ Association, said he would continue to object to the centre.

He said: ‘It is, in any case, very doubtful whether France will be able to export so much power in future because of technical problems with their nuclear reactors. In a post Brexit world can we really rely on France for our power supplies?’

The IFA2 is due to enter operation by 2020. The second scheme, the FAB Link, will link France to Budleigh Salterton in Devon.

It is due to enter service by 2022.