Fears that Aquind interconnector scheme will 'harm' the South Downs are allayed

A NATIONAL park will not be 'harmed' to make way for a controversial electricity scheme, it has been claimed.

Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 9:39 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 2:21 pm
How the Aquind interconnector could look

The converter station for the Aquind interconnector project will be created at a new site outside the South Downs National Park (SDNP) despite previous plans to use the substation at Lovedean, which is south of the park.

If the Aquind project is approved by the government at a later date it will see electricity cables brought on to land at Eastney in Portsmouth before reaching a converter station further north.

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Fears raised that Aquind electricity scheme will 'significantly harm' the South ...

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An Aquind spokesman explained the latest plans that would see the station located to the west of the Lovedean site. He said: 'Lovedean substation was identified as the preferred connection point for Aquind interconnector following an assessment by national grid, who are responsible for maintaining Great Britain’s electricity grid.

'The new converter station will be located to the west of the existing national grid substation, outside the SDNP boundary.

'The converter station needs to be located as close as possible to the existing substation minimise the length of AC cable used, which take up a much wider corridor of land when compared to DC cables, and pose other technical challenges that would reduce the benefits of the project.'

It comes following fears from the Hampshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) that a station at Lovedean would 'significantly harm' the national park.

Christopher Napier, of CPRE Hampshire’s planning group, said: 'Given the high sensitivity and high value of the landscape of the SDNP, buildings of this scale, utilitarian appearance and form sited in this location could not but cause significant harm to the setting of the SDNP.

'The significant adverse impact on landscape character, visual amenity and tranquillity of the SDNP would be contrary to the first national park purpose, and so significantly compromise the purpose of designation of the SDNP.'

The Aquind spokesman added: 'Aquind recognises the importance of mitigating the landscape and visual impacts of the project.

'Our development consent order application contains a range of design and landscaping principles to mitigate the visual impacts of the converter station, which have been prepared in consultation with SDNP authority and Winchester City Council.'