Kwasi Kwarteng, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, has refused consent for a development consent order (“DCO”) under the Planning Act 2008 intended to develop £1.2bn of electricity interconnector infrastructure across England by Aquind Limited.
Aquind proposed to install an interconnector, alongside its private commercial telecommunications cables, under the English Channel and through Portsmouth before terminating these at a principal Converter Station located on private farmland in Hampshire.
Who objected to the scheme and why?
Gateley Hamer was instructed by the host authority, Portsmouth City Council, who objected to the scheme on the basis of the detrimental impacts the scheme would have on the local (and strategic) road network, impacts it would have had on playing fields, and the compromising of programmed sea defence works required to protect the City. Gateley Hamer’s Managing Director, Jonathan Stott also represented the landowners for the principal converter station, and businesses impacted by the scheme by Piers Collacott.
Aquind applied for compulsory acquisition powers for the land required to deliver the scheme within the DCO.
Gateley Hamer raised technical objections during the examination challenging the application for compulsory acquisition powers, arguing the case for compulsory acquisition powers had not been made.
The challenges included the inclusion of spare capacity (commercial) fibre optic cables as part of the application for powers (resulting in land being included in the Order for which powers should not have been applied for as the apparatus should have been outside of the scheme), failure to fully consider alternatives, and failure to make an assessment of public benefit versus private loss in the assessment of alternatives.
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