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. The examination into the proposed Aquind interconnector closed on 8 March 2021.
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 is not the body which determines the order.
The Examination closed on 08 March 2021. There will now be a period of three months for the Examining Authority to write its report and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will then have three months in which to make a decision.
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.
Portsmouth City Council’s role and the development consent process
The council is not the authority that will determine the project, but has had 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 has been an important consultee in the consent process, and appeared at the independent examination. Each local planning authority was able to make its views known on the proposal at the independent examination, as were individual residents. The council is also a property owner and made a response from that point of view.
To follow are some links to background information about the projects and its status:
- Interconnector announced as nationally significant infrastructure project
- National infrastructure planning application process
- Role of local authorities in the development consent process
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
The timeline on the project 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 were held remotely through Microsoft Teams, and were live streamed for everyone to watch.
All those who registered as Interested Parties were invited to make written representations by 6 October 2020 and a series of Open Floor, Issue Specific and Compulsory Acquisition Hearings were held in December 2020 and February 2021. The Examination closed on 8 March 2021.
The council will keep people updated following the Examining Authority’s report on the examination, which is due to be published in June 2021. The final decision will then be made by the Secretary of State in September 2021 and the council will study any decision carefully.
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.