Gosport Borough Council, Lee West Ward
Councillor John Beavis MBE

Proposal IFA2 Inter-connector in Daedalus Lee on the Solent


A MAJOR new energy infrastructure project which will see electricity imported from France via Lee-on-the-Solent to the UK has been approved by Fareham Borough Council

Daedalus proposed IFA2

Following NGIL's option appraisal, the land at Chilling was identified as a preferred site for the interconnector infrastructure building. This was based on the site satisfying several criteria, including proximity to the point of connection and technical feasibility. The site is close to the coastline which is designated as a Special Protection Area. The converter station would be up to 22m high and cover an area of land 200m by 200m (40,000 m2), about the size of 4 football pitches and a similar height to a six to seven storey building. 
Hampshire County Council refused to sell the land to the National Grid. HCC's view is that the construction of such a building would have a highly detrimental effect and impact on what is a beautiful and unspoilt area of coastline designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA). The area which the NG wanted to build IFA2 was not in the SPA.

Despite the refusal to sell the land by HCC, it is possible that NGIL could seek to purchase it compulsorily using powers under the Electricity Act. The site of the old power station at Fawley is available and remain a very viable option; this is also a highly suitable alternative to Daedalus.

FBC stand to make significant financial gains (Figures of £10m when built and £1m pa thereafter are being mentioned).


There are many Electrical converters built or planned in Britain and in each case bar one (Daedalus) they are situated on heavy industrial sites (disused power stations) or open areas (farmland). The odd one out - The choice of Daedalus is an unwelcome change to the site location policy normally adopted by National Grid.

A. Converter station at East Sleekburn Northumberland – Situated on farmland adjacent to existing industrial buildings and energy developments.

B. Converter station at Hunterston  – Situated on farmland adjacent to a power station.

C. Converter station at Sellindge Kent – Situated on open farmland.

D. Converter station at Flintshire Bridge Scotland – Situated on an industrial park.

E. Converter station at Britned Isle of Grain Kent – Situated in an industrial area site of a disused power station.

F. Converter station at Richborough Kent – To be built on a former power station site.

G. Converter station at Daedalus – To be built close to a residential area on an operating airfield.

GBC supports the national and European position on taking action to achieve greater energy security and the best prices for consumers but do have real concerns about the use of land in Daedalus so close to an operational Airfield. Concerns are based on noise, visual impact, public health and aviation safety. 

The decision to approve IFA2 project in Daedalus was made at a packed-out meeting of Fareham Borough Council’s planning committee at Ferneham Hall in Fareham on 23 January 2017.

Over 1200 objections had been aimed at National Grid’s proposals ahead of the meeting and 15 passionate deputations Led by the Chairmen of Hill Head, Lee on the Solent and Peel Common Residents' Associations, were made during the proceedings against the proposals, which each received a round of applause from an audience of over 300 people.

Previous Chairman of Gosport's Planning Committee, Councillor Stephen Philpott, who represents Peel Common on Gosport Borough Council said he and fellow anti-IFA2 campaigners would look to have the plans now ‘called in’ by Sajid David, the Secretary of State for local government, for the application to be determined by an independent inspector.

Cllr Philpott added: ‘We won the public’s vote on this, but we lost the political vote. Many, many people living in Gosport are very disappointed by this decision.’

During the meeting, Cllr Philpott gave a fiery deputation against the plans. He told the committee: ‘If you permit these plans, you will be pressing the detonator and trashing your own Core Strategy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duJ19wTLHWc

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage also spoke at the meeting, urging the committee to reject the proposals.

Fareham Councillors gave full planning permission for the subsea cables which will connect to the existing National Grid compound at Chilling and outline permission for the converter station, meaning its size and design will need to be signed off at a later date.

The vote was seven in favour and two against, with Portchester councillor Roger Price and Sarisbury councillor John Butts both rejecting the plans.

Requests from Gosport MP and Gosport Councillors and separately by the Chairmen of Hill Head, Lee and Peel Common Residents' Associations were  made to the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government  for the planning application to be "called in". If successful this would result in the application being heard at an inquiry by an independent Inspector and the final decision would be made by the Secretary of State. We firmly believe that the site at Chilling (where the Sub-Station is) or the site of the old power station at Fawley are far more suitable sites than Daedalus.

FBC Deliberately and knowingly published planning approval on 10 April while the Secretary of State was considering our calling-in request; he was expected to call it in but FBC did not allow him to make the final decision. We understand that this action by Fareham BC greatly annoyed the Secretary of State as he had been about to call in the application.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage, 10 Gosport Cllrs, FBC Cllr Carolyn Heneghan and the Chairmen of Peel Common, Lee on the Solent and Hill Head residents associations have Applied to  the Secretary of State to Revoke the Planning Permission for the IFA2 Interconnector at Daedalus, Lee on the Solent and associated infrastructure approved by Fareham Borough Council on 10th April 2017. We understand that this decision is likely to be made very soon.

Fareham Borough Council have: 

·       Ignored the aircraft manufacturers and aviation experts Britten-Norman who are based at the airfield.

·       Ignored their own aviation expert Councillor.

·       Ignored the consequences of their consultants' reports that state that there are unresolved aviation safety issues and that the full extent of RFI and EMF effects of both the high voltage cables and the converter building remain unknown.

·       Ignored their consultant's report on likely damage to the business prospects of the Enterprise Zone.

·       Ignored the government’s National Policy Planning Framework - Introduction Para.1 and Paras. 11, 12, 17, 79, 80 and 123.

·       Ignored policies CS12, CS14, CS21, CS22 & DSP12 in their own current Local Plan.

·       Ignored the objections from some 1300 residents.

·       Ignored the adverse effects on the local community.

·       Apparently influenced changes to an expert report - which we infer from their reluctance to release the original version of the Arcadis report.

·       Ignored the concerns of the local MP and also of the adjacent Borough that will be most affected by the proposal.

·       Made their determination based in part on a Planning Officer's advice that included matters that were not their business and far beyond their terms of reference.

·       Deliberately and knowingly published planning approval while the Secretary of State was considering whether the Planning Application by National Grid should be called in for him to make the final decision.

 Latest Update on IFA2 planning by the National Grid

The current situation is that FBC  granted planning permission for the cabling and outline planning for the IFA2 building. As they did so before the Minister had made a decision on the “calling-in” request by our MP and our committee of the three Residents' Associations and Gosport Councillors. On 27 July we received a letter from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government criticising FBC for approving the application without consulting the Minister but also finally confirming that he would not revoke that planning permission and IFA2 will go ahead at Daedalus.  This is a sad day for local democracy

Since then final plans have been approved by FBC and work on the Converter Station is now underway and the whole project is due for completion by mid-2020.

There is little more we can do to stop IFA2 being built in Daedalus.   Our only real  hope then is that France will ‘pull the plug’ on the deal.

Posted: 2/6/2018