Council set to give green light to plans for £500m interconnector at Daedalus

What the interconnector IFA2 site at Daedalus in Lee-on-the-Solent would look like
What the interconnector IFA2 site at Daedalus in Lee-on-the-Solent would look like
Sonairton Almeida with Achuthan Leelaratham at 'Villa's Brasil Restaurant      ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (180314-0472)

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PLANS for a £500m electrical interconnector at a former navy airfield are set to get the green light.

Fareham Borough Council has released its highly-anticipated report in regards to the proposals for the 22m-high IFA2 station at Daedalus ahead of next Monday’s planning committee meeting in which its fate will be decided.

Council officers have recommended that National Grid’s project be approved despite overwhelming objections from people living nearby and the admission that the proposed station will have ‘some impact’ on Solent Airport, which is based at the former navy airfield in Lee-on-the-Solent.

It would bring French electricity to Britain via undersea cables that would connect to the station after making landfall at Monks Hill Beach in Hill Head and following the conversion, would then travel along the coast to Chilling to connect to the existing National Grid compound to feed into the country’s wider electricity transmission network.

The report reveals that only ten representations out of 1,144 supported the application and that people’s main concerns regarding the project are that it will affect airfield operations at Daedalus, dissuade businesses from coming to the Solent Enterprise Zone and that it should be built at either Chilling of Fawley.

After objections from aviation manufacturer Britten-Norman that the proposal would affect airfield operations at the site, the council commissioned a report which later discarded these concerns.

However, the report states: ‘The planning application submission, along with peer review reports, acknowledge that there will be some impacts upon the operations at Solent Airport at Daedalus arising from the development.’

Although, it later added that the impact would not have an ‘adverse effect’ on airport operations so the officers could not recommend it for refusal.

It was revealed earlier this year that the impact of Brexit could have delayed a decision being made due to CRE - the French energy market regulator - saying it could withhold approval for IFA2 following a consultation with stakeholders.

These claims were again dismissed in the report with an officer stating: ‘It is considered that the French consultation, which has received some media attention during the turn of the year, is afforded little weight in determining this planning application.

‘Officers do not consider the implications of Brexit constitute reasons for deferring a decision on this planning application.’

In the summarising of the application, an officer wrote: ‘The IFA2 project will provide an important part of infrastructure to ensure that there is flexibility in power supply which can ensure that the country can support further growth and innovation.’