Subsea cables to bring electricity to city from France

PROPOSALS have been drawn up to run electricity from mainland Europe to the UK, going through Portsmouth.

Monday, 4th December 2017, 12:52 pm
Updated Monday, 11th December 2017, 11:15 pm
Power cables coming ashore at Eastney will ultimately feed into the national grid

Aquind will use the interconnector to run currents from France to the existing substation site in Lovedean, near Waterlooville.

The cables will come out of the sea at Eastney before going underground to Lovedean where a new converter station will convert the electricity from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). On the other end, the cables will run to Normandy.

The plans are in the early stages and Aquind will be holding public consultation sessions early next year to explain the proposals.

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The announcement come just days after interconnector IFA2 was given planning permission for land at Daedalus, in Lee-on-the-Solent.

No planning applications have been submitted yet but Aquind’s proposals say the new converter will be 22m-high at its peak and will need approximately six to nine hectares of land.

Explaining its reason for choosing Lovedean, the plans say: ‘Lovedean was identified as the optimal location for the UK converter station, taking into account a number of factors, including the capacity of the existing network.

‘The converter station site will comprise a mix of buildings and outdoor electrical equipment, with the outdoor equipment being similar in nature to the equipment at the neighbouring Lovedean substation.

‘The design and layout of the converter station will be finalised in due course.

‘Work is being carried out to understand any environmental constraints including ecological, landscape and heritage features, and develop appropriate mitigation.’

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, who lives in Eastney, and is leader of the Liberal Democrats in Portsmouth, welcomed the plans.

He said: ‘On the whole, it is sensible for us to be connected to Europe because it helps with the security of supplies.

‘In an ideal situation, I would like the government to be trying to get more power created from renewable sources.

‘I don’t think these plans will cause much trouble for people in Eastney.’

The cables will run underground from Eastney to Lovedean and Aquind hope to use existing verges and highways where possible.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson added: ‘If they cannot use existing routes for the cable, I would hope they would find a sensible solution so residents aren’t inconvenienced.’

Leader of Portsmouth City Council Donna Jones said the impact should be minimal and having the interconnector was important.

‘The subsea cable running from France to the UK is essential to ensure businesses across the country are able to access cheaper energy to keep manufacturing costs low,’ she said.

‘There has never been a more important time that manufacturing costs are as low as possible.’

But Horndean Parish Councillor Paul Beck says that the council is upset that there will not be an environmental impact survey taking place.

He said: ‘We felt that there should have been an environmental planning survey done by East Hampshire District Council.

‘When we found out that this wouldn’t be the case, we were all rather disappointed.’

MP for Meon Valley George Hollingbery said: ‘I will be meeting the site promoters in January and asking them about disturbances, the amount of time needed for the work and other questions that residents will want answered.’

The public consultations will be at Waterlooville Community Centre, on January 24 between 2pm and 8pm and at Milton Village Hall on January 26 between 2pm and 8pm.

There will also be on January 27 between 2pm and 8pm at Lovedean Village Hall, on Lovedean Lane.