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