Plans for cross-Channel energy interconnector at Lovedean take step forward
PLANS forÂ aÂ cross-channel power link to come ashore in Portsmouth have taken a step forward after businessÂ secretary Greg ClarkÂ madeÂ it a '˜nationally significant infrastructure project'.
Mr Clark's decision onÂ the interconnector planned for a site inÂ Lovedean, near Waterlooville, have been welcomed by developer Aquind.
It means they can now apply to the government planning inspectorÂ for a development consent order (DCO) which isÂ given to energy, transport, water and waste projects.
As previously reported in The News, the interconnector could be build next to the existing substation in Lovedean with cables running from the English Channel through Portsmouth.
The new subsea and underground high voltage direct current would provide an electricÂ link betweenÂ England and Normandy in France.
But councillors in the city have raised concerns over Aquind's plans to run the cables under the Eastern Road over fears it could cause traffic chaos.
They would prefer an alternative route along the harbour.
AquindÂ saidÂ it anticipates an application for development consent will be submitted next yearÂ after it has carried out further technical studies along with a pre-application consultation.
Once submitted, the planning inspectorate will examine Aquind's DCO application before the secretary of state makes a decision on whether authorisation should be given.
A spokesman for Aquind said: '˜The DCO planning process is well-suited to the development of the interconnector given the project's potential to deliver significant national benefits.'
He added the mainÂ parameters of the proposal remain unchanged.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the leader of Portsmouth City Council, said the developer needs to find an alternative route for the underground cables to stop '˜traffic havoc'.
'˜Greg Clarke is right to make the interconnector a nationally significant infrastructure project,' he said.
'˜But it will cause havoc on the Eastern Road if the plans stay how they are.
'˜Aquind have gone for the simple route but this road is only three on and off Portsmouth. An alternative needs to be found.'
Councillor Donna Jones, ToryÂ leader in the city, agreed. She said: '˜I don't think the secretary's comments are as significant as it seems and I don't think there'sÂ any serious prospect of this happening soon.
'˜The plans are flawed and putting underground cables along one of the busiest roads in one of the most densely-populated cities is wrong.
'˜It will also causeÂ significant environmental damage which will cause people to object.'
A spokesman for theÂ Department for Business, Energy and Industrial StrategyÂ said: '˜The secretary of state Greg ClarkeÂ has decided the proposed interconnector is nationally significant due to its twoÂ gigawatt capacity.
'˜This means development should go through the planning process and local people be properly consulted.'