Council deals interconnector firm blow after opposing plans for cables from France to Portsmouth

Aquind Interconnector
Aquind Interconnector
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A FIRM that plans to install cables through Portsmouth to bring across electricity from France has been dealt a blow after the city council opposed plans.

Aquind plans to install an interconnector offering a link to France so electricity can be bought and sold under the Channel – with the undersea cables coming on to land at Eastney.

The project would see cables laid to transfer power from Normandy to a UK converter station at Lovedean, in a bid to strengthen both nations' electric grids.

After criticism from initial proposals in January 2018 a number of public consultations were then held for eight weeks starting in February this year in areas that could be affected by the interconnector.

Residents and countryside charities opposed the proposals after citing a number of concerns including impact on wildlife, noise and affects on roads in the area.

Now Portsmouth City Council has officially objected to the plans. Leader of the council Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘As this is deemed to be a national infrastructure project, Portsmouth and neighbouring authorities don’t get to decide on the planning application. 

‘However, we have objected to the proposed cable route for a number of reasons: alternative options have not been explored, and insufficient consideration has been given to the significant disruption the construction work would cause to the city and area. 
‘Having submitted our strong opposition to the project at this first stage, and will continue to lobby vehemently on our many objections to the scheme.’ 

Aquind’s application will be submitted later this year to the Planning Inspectorate, which has 28 days to review it and decide whether or not to accept it.

A spokesman for Aquind said: ‘We have sought to pro-actively engage with all directly affected Local Planning Authorities, including Portsmouth City Council, throughout the pre-application process. As part of this consultation, AQUIND presented how the project arrived to the current design and a number of alternative cable route options along the proposed onshore underground cable route. AQUIND is keen to continue constructive engagement with Portsmouth City Council and specifically with its traffic team in the lead up to the submission of the proposal for the examination by the Planning Inspectorate later this year.’