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Much more controversially but not mentioned at all in Fareham’s strategy document is the proposal to site an electricity interconnector building (IFA2) Fareham Planning Application P/16/0557/OA near the Peel Common corner of the Daedalus.

IFA2 will exchange and convert electricity generated in France for connection with the UK National Grid.  Until recently France had excess power generation capacity from Nuclear Power but just recently many nuclear generators have been shut down due to safety issues. The IFA2 is well covered elsewhere on this website so this article will mainly address the planning issues. In planning terms its is an outline application for IFA2 and the remaining open space area between the interconnector fence and Peel Common roundabout, the planning committee will have to re-consider the converter building plans once completed and submitted, although approval has been granted in principal.  A full application was made for the cable runs across Daedalus and over the beach as well as the cable runs into the current Chilling termination site.

As this has full approval - work can be started.

Your 3 local Residents Associations, our MP, local Councillors, Gosport Council, the Gosport Society and over a thousand other residents all raised Planning Objection Letters opposing the Interconnector.  Additionally our MP, Councillors, Local Societies and Associations and several others all voiced formal deputations at the planning meeting held by Fareham Borough Council's Regulatory Board in January. The objections identified that IFA2 ignores Fareham’s own planning policies such as “CS22 Development in Strategic Gaps”, damages the integrity and visual separation of the green open space between settlements, prejudices the further development of the Airfield, the Enterprise Zone and even raises questions over long-term health risks.  

Nonetheless, as far as Fareham Council is concerned it would appear the pecuniary benefits outweigh the risks to local residents as well as the future of the Airfield and local economy. Fareham Councillors obviously want the Interconnector to proceed despite countering their own policies and incurring so many risks.

The Local Residents Associations, our MP, Gosport Council and local Councillors have asked the Secretary of State to “call in” this application which in effect means the Secretary of State is asked to review that the plans as approved are a sound decision in the national interests, possibly deferring a decision to a publically held planning enquiry.

The LRA is not opposed to the Interconnector or its function, however, this is the only one of the 8 operational/proposed interconnectors to be set within a residential area.  Chilling, the National Grids preferred location is right next to where it connects to the National Grid and would have much less human impact and be less costly in subsidy for all electricity consumers.

More logically siting IFA2 within the power station/industrial complex at Fawley seems ideal as it already has standby power generation and a ready connection to the grid and, not least, that any new infrastructure would blend into the current backdrop of power facilities.