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Interconnector Portsmouth | Latest news

11 September 2023

Following the Judicial Review and High Court decision in January 2023, The Secretary of State asked Portsmouth City Council to provide an update on the requirement for a Works Cooperation Agreement between the council and the AQUIND Interconnector project.

As part of a response to that request, last week a Works Cooperation Agreement was put in place. This is a necessary ‘without prejudice’ process to ensure that the AQUIND Interconnector project could not undermine or disrupt the vital coastal defence work being undertaken in North Portsea or increase costs to the people of Portsmouth if it were to achieve a Development Consent Order.

Portsmouth City Council continues to strongly oppose the AQUIND Interconnector project and proposal to lay cables through the areas in the east of the city. As a densely populated island city, the planned route is both impractical and unacceptable. It will severely impact our residents’ everyday lives and wellbeing and impact our environment.

The council continues to make representations to the Secretary of State to make the objections of local people clear at every opportunity.

For more information please see the Works Cooperation Agreement. We have redacted bank details and personal information such as signatures.

24 Jan 2023

The High Court has upheld the Judicial Review of the decision of the former Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy against the refusal of the development consent for the AQUIND Interconnector. The Secretary of State will now have to reconsider the matter and reach a new decision.

Portsmouth City Council strongly opposed the AQUIND Interconnector project and the proposal to lay cables through areas in the east of the city. A judicial review by AQUIND Limited was held in the High Court on 22/23 November 2022. Portsmouth City Council was conjoined as an interest party to the judicial review and was successful in supporting the Secretary of State in respect of 3 of the 7 grounds of challenge. AQUIND Limited were successful on 4 grounds.

For more information – https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-east/aquind-interconnector/

17 October 2022

The date for the High Court judicial review has been set for 22 and 23 November 2022.  The council is appearing at the High Court as an interested party to support the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State is defending the decision to refuse Aquind Development Consent.

22 June 2022

Portsmouth City Council has been confirmed by the High Court of Justice to be conjoined as an interested party.

The council’s legal and planning teams are preparing to review AQUIND’s witness statements when they are received and will liaise with the Secretary of State’s legal team to contest the claim for judicial review.

Portsmouth City Council remain strongly opposed to the AQUIND Interconnector project and the proposal to lay cables through areas in the east of the city.  The council believes the suggested route was impractical and would cause significant disruption to residents.

8 March 2022

Permission to seek a judicial review of the decision of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to refuse development consent for the AQUIND Interconnector project has been submitted by AQUIND Limited.

Portsmouth City Council is applying to the High Court of Justice to be conjoined as an interest party.

20 January 2022

The application for the AQUIND Interconnector project is refused.

Summary of the Secretary of State’s Decision 3.1. Section 104(3) of the Planning Act 2008 requires the Secretary of State to decide the Application in accordance with any relevant National Policy Statement (“NPS”). The Secretary of State has carefully considered the ExA’s Report and all other material considerations, including further representations received after the close of the ExA’s examination (“the post-examination representations”), and has decided, in accordance with Section 104(3), to refuse development consent.





2 September

The Secretary of State has made the decision to extend the statutory deadline for taking the decision on the Application by six weeks. The statutory deadline has therefore been extended from 8 September 2021 to 21 October 2021.

Aquind interconnector examination closes

As the examination into the proposed Aquind interconnector closed on 8 March 2021, Portsmouth City Council remains strongly against the suggested route for the construction and is hoping that the work the planning team has done will be enough to persuade central government that the interconnector is unnecessary, highly disruptive and poorly planned.

The council has worked in collaboration with a variety of affected parties, including East Hampshire District Council and Havant Borough Council who are united in their agreement that the interconnector is not wanted locally. The local authorities have spent the last six months engaging with the examination process in good faith, and at significant expense.

Cllr Hugh Mason, Cabinet Member for Planning Policy and City Development at Portsmouth City Council said: “We want to thank members of the public, allotment holders and other affected parties for their tireless campaigning against this unwanted construction. We have devoted significant time and resource to opposing the proposed interconnector and it is heartening that we have had so much local support. We await the final decision and hope that it will be the right one for Portsmouth and the wider area.”

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: “All political parties in Portsmouth remain strongly opposed to the proposed interconnector project and the proposal to lay cables through areas in the east of the city. If approved, the construction will see significant and unacceptable disruption to residents and businesses in the city, and we believe that alternative options have not been explored. Having submitted our strong opposition to the project, we remain hopeful that it is not too late for the proposal to be rejected.

“We remain of the view that this would have been better settled at a local level, rather than by a national government minister.”

“The strong local sentiment against the proposed Aquind interconnector is based on logic, not just emotion” said Cllr Michael Wilson, Leader of Havant Borough Council. “We understand the need to provide resilience in the nation’s energy infrastructure but have genuine concerns about the local impact on our residents and businesses. We stand with our partner authorities in opposing this project.”

“Resilience for our nation and its future capabilities is understood, but not at any cost.” said Cllr Richard Millard, Leader at East Hampshire District Council. “The Aquind project does not meet a number of critical criteria for ourselves and our partner authorities, and I stand by our opposition to the project. We deem the impact on our environment – from our coastline up to our national park – as unacceptable.”

If approved the interconnector would involve laying cables through the city, landing in Eastney and running through Portsmouth and the borough of Havant to a converter station at Lovedean, which would cause significant disruption to residents. The council has worked closely with affected parties to keep them informed and involved with the process, including allotment holders in the east of the city and the Let’s Stop Aquind protest group.

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.

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. Updates will be made after these milestones through the council’s bespoke website – https://interconnectorportsmouth.co.uk/