Plan to rip up Eastern Road for Aquind electricity cables revised to stop 'traffic chaos'

FEARS that plans for controversial electricity cables would lead to a major city road being 'ripped up' have been allayed in a bid to avoid 'traffic chaos.'

By Fiona Callingham
Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 12:36 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 1:36 pm
An artist's impression of Aquind's Interconnector, which would link to cables running through the city

The route of the Aquind interconnector, which will bring electricity from France, could now go partly alongside Eastern Road in Portsmouth rather than through the length of it.

Residents voiced their concerns when a consultation last year proposed running the electricity lines through the road and city councillors formally objected to plans for the same reason.

Now, among different options for the route, is the possibility of installing cables in the verges and footpaths next to Eastern Road 'where possible.'

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Council leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: 'That would have significantly less impact on car drivers.

'Ripping up Eastern Road would cause traffic chaos, it would be a huge operation.'

An Aquind spokesman said: 'In a number of locations, we looked at routes that avoid roads completely, while along the Eastern Road we have proposed that, where possible, the cables be installed in verges or footpaths to minimise traffic disruption.

'Where this is not practically achievable, we will consider a range of traffic management measures to minimise disruption to road users.

'However, any roads or green spaces directly affected would be restored following completion of construction.'

Feedback from the most recent Aquind consultation - held in February and March this year - also questioned why the lines, which will travel to the Lovedean convertor station, could not run through Langstone Harbour instead.

However, a special protection status of the harbour meant this was not possible.

'Langstone Harbour was discounted as a potential landfall location due to the numerous environmental designations which protect the harbour and surrounding area from development and help care for protected species,' Aquind said.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson added: 'Logically if if the interconnector is coming out of the water it would make more sense for it to come through the harbour rather than through the city, but that was a government ruling.’

Options for the cable route are still being considered. It is planned a development consent order application will be made to the secretary of state at the end of this year.