IFA2 plans spark fears that aircraft at Daedalus would be affected by high voltage cables

A prospective £500m electrical power station has raised more concerns due to the potential impact that its high voltage cables could have on an airfield.

Saturday, 23rd July 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:00 pm
A Britten-Norman Defender aircraft flying over Portsmouth. In the upper right hand corner you see Daedalus Picture: Britten-Norman

National Grid’s application to Fareham Borough Council for the 22m-high station at Daedalus has attracted a huge community response so far with residents sending in more than 1,000 comments about the plan.

Now, aviation manufacturer Britten-Norman (BN) who rents hangers at the Daedalus airfield site, is objecting to the application.

In a letter submitted to the council, the manufacturer has expressed concerns over National Grid’s plan for one of the station’s six high voltage cables to run under the airfield’s runway.

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What the interconnector IFA2 site at Daedalus in Lee-on-the-Solent would look like

In a letter sent to the council, Mike Murray, a member of the BN advisory board said: ‘Neither BN nor National Grid is aware of any airfield anywhere in the world accommodating high power underground cabling, hence evidence as to actual effects on airfield operations and on aircraft themselves is hard to find.

‘The construction methodology and cable arrangements, have not been defined.

The letter added that the effects that the cable could have on aircraft using the runway should be ‘fully resolved’ ahead of a decision being made on the application or it should be withdrawn or refused.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) have also added their concerns on the location of the cabling.

What the interconnector IFA2 site at Daedalus in Lee-on-the-Solent would look like

Captain John Vickers, special projects multi-air platforms project team leader at the Royal Navy said: ‘Without incorporating mitigation measures into the installation, this supply cable is liable to introduce a local electromagnetic field that could interfere with avionic systems, instigating an airworthiness and safety issue for the aircraft.’

Bill Hutchinson, chairman of the Hill Head Residents Association said: ‘These comments show that all the evidence is pointing to the fact that Daedalus remains an unsuitable location for this development. It should be in Fawley instead.’

Fawley, in the New Forest was unavailable as the land had been sold to a developer for housing.

Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council added: ‘This is a big issue in regards to the planning application. National Grid must show that they can shield the runway from any effects of the cables and they demonstrate this to the council ahead of the decision.

The council are set to make a decision on the plans in September.