• AQUIND Interconnector to be considered as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (‘BEIS’) has today (Monday 30th July 2018) announced that AQUIND Interconnector is to be treated as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.

The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, issued the direction for AQUIND Interconnector – a new subsea and underground High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) electric power transmission link between the South Coast of England and Normandy in France – to be treated as development for which development consent is required.

To build the project, AQUIND will apply to the Secretary of State via the Planning Inspectorate (‘PINS’) for a Development Consent Order (‘DCO’) under the Planning Act 2008.

AQUIND has said that it anticipates an application for development consent will be submitted in 2019, after it has carried out further technical studies together with pre-application consultation with the local community, affected landowners and other relevant stakeholders.

Once submitted, the Planning Inspectorate will examine AQUIND’s DCO application before the Secretary of State makes a decision on whether authorisation should be given for the project.

Responding to the news, a spokesperson for AQUIND said:

“The DCO planning process is well-suited to the development of AQUIND Interconnector given the project’s potential to deliver significant national benefits for Great Britain, including more competition in energy markets, lower carbon dioxide emissions, greater integration of renewable energy sources and greater security of supply. It can also provide valuable ancillary services to the electric power grid.

“AQUIND would like to stress that the key parameters of the proposal remain unchanged, irrespective of the consenting regime – the onshore cable will be fully underground, whilst the converter station will remain as the only planned visible element.

“It is important to AQUIND that its scheme is shaped by local feedback. The development consent process places significant weight on the role of pre-application consultation, which will ensure all relevant stakeholders remain involved throughout the consultation process.

“Having built on the feedback received during our consultation in early 2018, AQUIND is looking forward to continued engagement with the local community and all relevant stakeholders in shaping the proposals.”

Earlier in 2018, AQUIND Interconnector was awarded Project of Common Interest (PCI) status by the European Commission. PCIs are key European energy infrastructure projects that address the three challenges of the European energy policy: affordability, security of supply and decarbonisation.