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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Update on IFA2 planning by the National Grid
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.