Pressure group hits out at ‘misleading’ plans for £1.2bn cross Channel power link

A computer graphic showing a typical converter station from the air. Picture: Siemens
A computer graphic showing a typical converter station from the air. Picture: Siemens
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VILLAGE campaigners have slammed public exhibitions setting out plans for a cross-Channel power link.

Pressure group Action to Protect the Living Environment Around Lovedean/Denmead (APLEAL) says it has ‘serious concerns’ about recent consultations for the proposed Aquind interconnector scheme.

A computer graphic showing a typical converter station from the air                                                Picture: Siemens

A computer graphic showing a typical converter station from the air Picture: Siemens

Pledging to link Normandy to a substation in Lovedean, near Waterlooville, the £1.2bn plan would join the French and British power grids with a cable exiting the sea at Eastney.

But APLEAL members say the scale of the development was underplayed before residents at a trio of ‘misleading’ exhibitions held last month.

Hitting out, they claim Aquind gave ‘no accurate visuals’ of what its 22m-high Lovedean converter station would look like if a build went ahead – potentially misguiding residents’ feedback.

APLEAL chairman Jeremy Warren said: ‘I’m concerned many local residents may have filled out their consultation forms thinking these proposed plans won’t affect their view or enjoyment of the local environments too much.

A map showing possible locations of the proposed Aquind Interconnector

A map showing possible locations of the proposed Aquind Interconnector

‘If the information in view would have been more complete and accurate, I think a lot more people would be appalled at the scope of this development and have very legitimate concerns.’

The group also criticised plans recognising potential new power storage systems at Lovedean as separate developments, calling the division ‘nonsensical’.

Mr Warren continued: ‘Surely common sense should prevail here and everyone involved should be considering the considerable detrimental environmental effects on both projects combined, not singularly.’

APLEAL’s fears come two weeks after Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones rubbished Aquind’s scheme, calling the firm’s proposal ‘a pie in the sky’.

Responding to APLEAL concerns, a spokesperson for Aquind said: ‘Aquind was keen to give the local community the maximum opportunity to provide feedback and influence the plans.

‘Images on display showed an example converter station design and clear information was provided on the likely potential height of the converter station and area of land procured for the purpose of delivering it.

‘Aquind welcomes further feedback on the proposals before the feedback deadline of Saturday, February 24, 2018.’

The firm will hold more consultations later in the year before submitting planning applications for the scheme.

Then, it says, residents will get to see more detailed plans for the development.