Report finds electricity plant will not affect airport operations

Residents looking at plans for the IFA2 link at Stubbington Baptist Church at an exhibition held by National Grid
Residents looking at plans for the IFA2 link at Stubbington Baptist Church at an exhibition held by National Grid
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CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a £500m energy convertor station have moved forward as the results of a new report have been published.

The plans for the IFA2 site at Daedalus on fields at the former navy airbase between Lee-on-the-Solent and Stubbington, have been put forward by National Grid.

It hopes to build a 22m-high station that will convert electricity brought in via 120 miles of sub-sea cables from France.

The application has been submitted to Fareham Borough Council for consideration as the planning authority.

But more than 1,000 objections have been sent in from people concerned about the effect the station would have on wildlife, neighbouring properties and the airfield.

A report was commissioned by National Grid and the council, which also owns the land and would be landlord, to investigate the concerns.

The results of this report, compiled by design and consultancy firm Arcadis, were published yesterday.

Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Sean Woodward, speaking on behalf of the council as landowner, said: ‘I stated at the start of this process that we would not allow anything to be built at Daedalus which would adversely affect Solent Airport.

‘This commitment is entirely separate from the deliberations of the planning committee on behalf of the local planning authority.

‘However the Arcadis report will be taken into account by the planning committee in considering and determining the planning application.’

The report looks at issues such as electromagnetic fields, wind effects, lighting, and the building’s height.

It concludes: ‘Overall, from the information available at this time, it is concluded that the risks posed by IFA2 are not expected to adversely impact the airport’s current operations and any hazards are expected to be straightforward to manage.’

However Bill Hutchison, chairman of Hill Head Residents’ Association, said he would still be objecting.

He said: ‘We will look carefully at what they say but nothing will alter the fact that the building will be a monstrosity, contrary to the local plan and in the strategic gap at its narrowest point on land set aside for the public.

‘There have been over 1,200 objections because local people do not want it.’

He also questioned the viability of the project after changes to electricity production in France.

Cllr Woodward said the council was hoping to hold a planning committee meeting in January at Ferneham Hall so a decision could be made.