Hampshire councils vow to work together as Aquind interconnector plans are submitted

COUNCILS around Hampshire have vowed to work together to protect roads and green spaces from the threat of 'disruptive' cables that could bring electricity from France.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 6:05 am
An artist's impression of the Aquind interconnector

Portsmouth, Havant and East Hampshire councils said they will continue to co-operate once plans for the controversial Aquind interconnector are submitted to government tomorrow (October 31).

If approved, the cables are likely to run underground from Eastney in Portsmouth to a converter station in Lovedean.

A report on the scheme will be heard at a Portsmouth cabinet meeting next week with a recommendation to consider withdrawing the council's objections.

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But Portsmouth council leader, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: 'We are still going to stand our ground.

'It's mad bringing in an underwater cable into the middle of the most densely populated cities in the country.

'We are working with several other councils to object to this and we will continue to oppose to them doing it.'

The final decision on the interconnector will be made by the government's planning inspectorate.

Councillor Vernon-Jackson added: 'The government has decided the local council will not be allowed to make the decision. The council will continue to lobby the secretary of state.'

Fears were previously raised by Portsmouth politicians around plans to tear up areas of the city including Bransbury Park and Eastern Road.

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The same concerns are felt by other authorities.

A spokesman for East Hampshire and Havant councils said: ​​​'Issues surrounding the project include serious disruption to the old A3 when cabling is laid.

'There are also concerns around construction traffic using local roads and the scale of the proposed building in countryside, close to the South Downs National Park.

'East Hampshire District Council and Havant Borough Council are working with each other and with neighbouring authorities on this project and will continue to do so when the development consent order application is submitted to the planning inspectorate.'

The South Downs National Park Authority initially questioned the choice of Lovedean due to its proximity to the boundary of the national park.

A park authority representative said: 'We queried whether sufficient consideration had been given to alternative locations.

'In addition to this, we raised concerns about the potential for landscape harm of such a large development. We are now waiting for the details of the application to see if these matters have been adequately addressed.'

A spokesman for Aquind commented: 'Following our consultation we have been working with a number of stakeholders, including Portsmouth City Council and other local authorities, to refine our proposals prior to submitting our development consent order application.

'Aquind welcomes continued engagement with all stakeholders following the submission of the application.'

Portsmouth councillors will discuss the scheme at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, November 5.