The next big development proposal to hit the local area is going to be infrastructure – Aquind, the proposed new power cable to connect the French and UK national grids.
The basic concept is that by connecting the French and UK grids both countries can balance supply and demand reducing the risk of loss of power. It also makes more efficient use of power stations and is claimed may reduce (or minimise increases) to energy bills. with the closure of UK gas and coal fired power stations, and the slow progress of Hinckley (our nuclear power station) ensuring the continuity of power is an important issue.
So, Why Lovedean? Making sure we ahve continuity of power is essential but do we have to have it here?
When the scheme was first proposed my first thought was why the connection couldn’t be made to the old Fawley Power Station? After all this was a 2000MW power station which was already connected to the grid and on the coast would be an ideal point to connect into – obvious really? At consultation stage this will be one of the questions to ask but economics suggest there will be a good reason as the cost to lay some 20 miles of cabling underground is significant. Ultimately the connection needs to be made to a point in the UK grid that can handle the incoming supply and distribute it to where it is needed but this still needs better explanation.
Route from Barnabos, France to Lovedean – Image from Aquind website.
In Lovedean the power cables will terminate in a large network of buildings on 6 to 9 hectares of land (15 to 22.5 acres). Their website advises there will be numerous buildings up to 22m in height.
This would have significant impact on the landscape, not just from Lovedean but also from the SDNP and views from far away like Portsdown hill. Electrical hum, noise, bunding, screening are all key issues to understand to mitigate if allowed.
The next complication is that the existing substation is set by the boundary to three planning authorities. Winchester, SDNPA and EHDC. No firm location has been set for this development and whichever planning authority receives the application will get a view from the adjacent ones.
Winchester would be a concern as there is a strong feeling they do not care what anything looks like away from their city centre (The development on Denmead Road a case in point). It is unlikely to be located in the National Park due to environmental considerations.
Aquind are developing their proposals and planning to hold public consultations. it is important that you attend these and give your view. As always they will be re-posted here. The consultations are due to be held in 2018 with the facility built and in operation by 2022 if it is approved.
To visit the Aquind website (Click Here)
and click here to download the Aquind Information Booklet
All the details above have been taken from the Aquind website, consultation documents and in the public domain.
Upcoming consultation event (dates taken from Aquind website so please check closer to the time in case they are changed)
24 January 2018 – Public Exhibition Waterlooville Community Centre 2-8pm
26 January 2018 – Public Exhibition Milton Village Community Hall 2-8pm
27 January 2018 – Public Exhibition Lovedean Village Hall 2-8pm