Interconnector Portsmouth

About the project

AQUIND Interconnector is a subsea and underground High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) electric power transmission link between the South Coast of England and Normandy in France.

AQUIND Limited has made an application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) which would authorise the construction of a new marine and underground High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) power transmission link between the South Coast of England and Normandy in France (to be known as AQUIND Interconnector).

Portsmouth City Council is opposed to the project as laying the required cables through the city is impractical and would cause significant disruption to residents you can see the council’s full objection on the Planning Inspectorate website.

The DCO application is being dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate, who will consider it on behalf of the Secretary of State. The council will be an important consultee in the consent process, and while it is not the body which determines the order it is able to give its planning views on the scheme at the inquiry.

The Planning Inspectorate is holding an independent examination into the proposals, which is a form of public inquiry.

Aquind’s argument is that by linking the British and French electric power grids it will make energy markets more efficient, improve security of supply and enable greater flexibility as power grids evolve to adapt to different sources of renewable energy and changes in demand trends such as the development of electric vehicles.

For more information visit the AQUIND website and the Planning Inspectorate Website

Portsmouth City Council’s role and the development consent process

The council is not the authority that will determine the project, but has a formal role in the process. The process around development consent orders and nationally significant infrastructure projects is different to local planning; this site aims to explain the project, process and our role and signpost to more detail about the project and consultation.

As stated above, the council is an important consultee in the consent process, and will appear at the independent examination – each local planning authority is able to make its views known on the proposal at the independent examination, as are individual residents. The council is also a property owner and is making a response from that point of view.

To follow are some links to background information about the projects and its status:

The project does not require a planning application to be submitted to the council for planning permission. Instead the permission that the project requires is called “Development Consent”. An application for a Development Consent Order to enable the development to go ahead is made directly to the Planning Inspectorate who will maintain information relating to the development on the Planning Inspectorate website

Project timescales

The timeline on the project is kept updated and is available on the Planning Inspectorate website.

The Examination of the Development Consent Order began on 8 September 2020 and the formal timetable was published shortly after. Due to restrictions associated with Coronavirus all hearings and meetings are currently being done remotely through Microsoft Teams, and will be live streamed for everyone to watch.

The Examination will continue for six months, until 8 March 2021.  All those who have registered as Interested Parties were invited to make written representations by 6 October 2020 and documents will continue to be exchanged through October and November.  A series of Open Floor, Issue Specific and Compulsory Acquisition Hearings are scheduled to be held in December. These are also currently intended to be undertaken remotely and live streamed so people can watch them.

There are no further opportunities for residents and other parties that have not already registered to make objections to the Planning Inspectorate. Portsmouth City Council has raised numerous concerns on behalf of residents and the city and we will maintain these points as we take part in the examination.

The latest information and updates on the can be found on the Planning Inspectorate’s Aquind Interconnector webpage, there is also a Planning Inspectorate video explaining the application process that may be of use.