Aquind bids for rights over 25,000 square metres of woodland in Hampshire

A COMPANY behind the Aquind interconnector plan is bidding to snatch up rights over two huge woodlands.

Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 7:00 am

The £1.2bn scheme to run subsea power cables, coming ashore at Eastney, to Lovdean, is being examined by the Planning Inspectorate following a series of public meetings last month.

Aquind has asked for compulsory acquisition rights over a combined 25,000 square metres of woodland, claiming ash dieback means the woods would not adequately cover the proposed new buildings at Lovedean.

This includes 10,112 square metres of woodland at Mill Copse, east of Old Mill Lane, Lovedean.

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Protesters make their voices heard over the plans for Aquind to run interconnector cables through Portsmouth. Pictured: Eastney resident Lynne Harvey on October 10, 2020 Picture: Richard Lemmer

The other parcel of land is 14,842 square metres of woodland and private access track at Stoneacre Copse, also east of Old Mill Lane.

Aquind made the application on December 11, and said it was needed to allow its team ‘to maintain the screening function (the trees) serve’. Ash dieback has ‘spread more rapidly than expected’ when the initial application was made.

Objections to the changes can be made before January 29 to [email protected]

An Aquind spokesman said: ‘Our recent surveys have identified that, in recent years, ash dieback has spread more rapidly than expected in woodland close to the proposed converter station site.

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‘As a result, we are now seeking rights over small amounts of additional land in this location to ensure that active management of this woodland can take place. This will help us protect this woodland, and the wildlife and ecosystems within it, and ensure it can act to screen the proposed Converter Station.

‘To carry out these management works, Aquind must first secure certain rights over the land as part of the ongoing Development Consent Order (DCO) planning process.

‘No physical development will take place in these locations and tree management work will only be carried out following the grant of the DCO for the project and in accordance with the relevant environmental regulations.’

Among the latest objections to the plan is one from Ali Gregory, who said: ‘It is scandalous that you would even think of bringing this through our precious island and disturbing the green space of a heavily densely populated city in Europe! This affects flora, fauna, wildlife and people.’

Campaigners in Portsmouth and leading politicians are against the proposal.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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