The plan is to land cables from France at Eastney, and run electricity through Portsmouth up to an interconnector at Lovedean.
The application, which seeks permission to construct and operate the UK elements of the project, has now been accepted for examination by the Planning Inspectorate.
It is thought a 12ft wide space will be needed to accommodate the cables, including an 8ft trench between them.
The underground interconnector would expand electricity capacity for both countries and would be capable of transmitting across the Channel an estimated five per cent of Great Britain’s total annual electricity consumption – enough to keep the lights on in up to 5m British homes.
The news will come as a blow to Portsmouth City Council which had previously spoken of concerns at the proposal, fearing the cable would ‘run through the centre of the city’ and the potential disruption this could cause. In a cabinet meeting in November, the council voted unanimously to stand by their objections to the plans.
At that time the council’s deputy leader Cllr Steve Pitt criticised how the company Aquind had approached the scheme.
‘I have had the misfortune of being at a very long series of meetings on this since it first reared its ugly head,’ he said. ‘It’s nonsensical.’
Aquind said the planning development comes at the end of an ‘extensive consultation with the local community’.
Director, Richard Glasspool, said: ‘We are of course pleased that our application has been accepted for examination by the Planning Inspectorate. The acceptance of the application is a significant milestone for the project and we would like to thank everyone in the local community that has engaged with the project to date. Our proposals have been shaped via feedback from the local community and stakeholders and we remain committed to engaging with relevant stakeholders moving forward.’
The Planning Inspectorate will now undertake a six-month examination of the application, including any potential local impacts, which is expected to start in early 2020. The final decision is expected to be made by the Secretary of State, who will make the final decision in early 2021.