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FAB Project secures access to underground route in UK

The FAB Project, planning to build an interconnector linking the electricity grids of Britain and France via Alderney, has secured access to its proposed underground route in the UK.

This latest permission means that the team behind the project will be able to access all the land needed along the underground route from where the electricity cables come ashore in Britain at Budleigh Salterton in East Devon to the National Grid substation near Exeter, via a planned converter station close to Exeter International Airport.

Although the permission, from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (DBEIS), is termed a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO), it does not mean the FAB Project will necessarily own the land along the route.

Development Manager Chris Jenner said: “This Order is about our having permission to access land so we can lay the cables underground, and return in the years to come for any maintenance which may be needed. We would use the CPO to acquire rights to access land, not to buy the land itself.

“For the great majority of the route we have already signed individual agreements with landowners. Indeed, we hope to complete negotiations with the remaining landowners, meaning we won’t need to invoke the CPO at all.

“The granting of the CPO is, however, the latest in a number of consents necessary for the development phase of the project in the UK.

“We aren’t yet in a position to give a firm starting date for construction as uncertainty related to Brexit is delaying our regulatory approvals process.

“But we are confident in the fundamentals behind the project, and only in November last year the EU reaffirmed our status as a Project of Common Interest. We are working hard to ensure the delay to the project will be kept to a minimum.

“The FAB Project will bring new competition to wholesale energy markets, lowering bills for consumers; will allow greater access to low-carbon sources of electricity; and will increase energy security for both the UK and continental Europe.

“We are determined to complete the project and bring these major benefits to people on both sides of the Channel as soon as possible.”

A copy of the order as confirmed by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and of the maps referred to therein are available at https://itportal.beis.gov.uk/EIP/pages/projects/FABLink.htm


FAB Link welcomes further planning approvals

The FAB Project interconnector between Britain and France has taken another major step forward with the approval of a licence from the UK’s Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

The Marine Licence will allow FAB Link to build and maintain the proposed subsea interconnector within UK waters.

The FAB Project will link the national electricity grids of Britain and France with the aim of increasing energy security, cutting consumers’ bills, and enabling greater use of greener, low-carbon electricity.

The 220km subsea and underground 1.4GW interconnector is due to make landfall in the UK at Budleigh Salterton in East Devon.

Chris Jenner, the FAB Project’s Development Manager, said: “This decision is another significant step forward for our proposals.

“The FAB Project team has worked closely with the MMO and their statutory advisors to ensure that the Marine Licence provides permission for the necessary construction and maintenance activities, together with appropriate safeguards to ensure that the FAB Project can proceed without any significant impacts on the marine environment.

“This decision is a reflection of the positive dialogue between the FAB Project and the various stakeholders who have an interest in the UK waters, particularly Lyme Bay and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site in East Devon.

“Furthermore, this decision comes a few weeks after East Devon District Council gave planning permission for a section of the onshore cable route along the Otter Valley. This permission will enable the FAB Project to bring our cables ashore in such a way that not only provides them with long-term protection but also leaves a much-improved section of footpath for local people and visitors to enjoy for years to come.”

In July 2017, East Devon District Council gave outline planning permission for the project’s UK converter station near Exeter International Airport after also issuing a certificate of lawful development allowing the electricity cables to be laid underground between the landfall at Budleigh Salterton and the National Grid substation near Broadclyst.