26 October 2021
National Grid Ventures - Nautilus Interconnector Public Consultation
Please see below my response to your consultation on proposals for the Nautilus Interconnector:
Tacking climate change is one of the top priorities for the Government. The UK was the first G7 country to legislate for net-zero by 2050 and the Energy White Paper establishes a permanent shift away from our dependence on fossil fuels, underlining the Prime Minister’s commitment to provide 40GW of offshore wind electricity by 2030. The same White Paper¹ and the subsequent review of the National Policy Statements for Energy² set out that a more coordinated approach to the delivery of onshore electricity transmission infrastructure is required. The role of multi-purpose interconnectors is well established to help resilience. However, whilst integrating multiple projects is undoubtedly the right thing to do, rather than having separate connections, it’s essential our precious landscapes and communities are protected by placing the infrastructure in the appropriate location.
The proposed National Policy Statements for Energy also place an expectation on applicants to demonstrate how the optimum connection locations have been identified. I cannot understand how this has been achieved by National Grid predicating these entire consultation proposals on the proposed substation at Friston, the Development Consent Order for which, having not yet been determined.
I have consistently opposed the Friston substation site throughout its examination hearing on the grounds that it would have a devastating impact on the local environment and the local listed buildings that surround the substation site - with no adequate landscaping - and the cable corridor impacting 9km of sensitive landscape including elements of the AONB. I have strongly recommended that Bradwell in Essex be used instead, helped by its existing substation network.
My biggest concern though was the extent to which the cumulative impact of other energy infrastructure projects were not being taken into account. I note that this consultation has been launched following the end of the EA1 & EA2 examination hearings, which necessitates further development between Friston and the coast, which I don’t think was adequately considered during the hearing. It will come as no surprise then that I object most strongly to your proposals to connect at Friston.
Again, considering these entire proposals are predicated on the connection at Friston, I do not wish to support any of the associated infrastructure, which promotes that connection. However, I know in their submission, Suffolk County Council have used their expert officers to summarise the highly constrained nature of your proposed landfall and converter station sites and cable routes. The findings of which I associate myself with.
Recognising the cumulative impact of this and other pending projects, the long-term capacity of Bradwell as an integrated Wind Energy Hub has significantly greater potential than the Friston site. It is closer to London and on the coast thus negating the need for cable corridors to be dug and re-dug with every future wind farm project attempting to connect to the Grid. It is a brownfield site and in need of development. I would urge National Grid to seriously consider this and for the developer to demand a new connection site.