Thanks to everyone who took part in our recent consultation, which closed on 16 December. We’ve received hundreds of comments from local people, local councils and specialist bodies.
The level of detail we’ve received is really useful in helping us better understand what effects the proposals could have on the local area and if there are ways to reduce these effects.
We are now looking carefully at all of the feedback alongside the other factors we must consider, such as landscape, archaeology and technical requirements. This helps develop proposals that take account of the natural environment, our engineering requirements and importantly, those people affected by our proposals.
It will take a number of months to review and assess all of the feedback and take another look at our proposals.
We will also:
- continue discussions with landowners about land use and access
- consider how the transport and construction work could be undertaken and look at opportunities to reduce the effects of this on the area. We will always ensure properties can be accessed during construction finalise requirements for tree and hedgerow clearance and how we will manage the effects of this, including reinstatement
- consider the visual impact of the connection to establish what furthermitigation measures may be needed, which may include landscaping or planting
- look carefully at the effects of the proposed connection on the local area and if any further mitigation measures are needed
- carry out further engineering surveys
When we’re happy the proposals are ready, we’ll prepare our applications to the relevant bodies. This will include a Consultation Report, to explain what you’ve told us and how we’ve taken your views into account, and an Environmental Statement, to explain the likely environmental effects of our proposal.
We will then submit our applications to the relevant bodies. We expect this to be in late 2017, depending on the outcome of the consultation.
At this stage, we anticipate the applications for the connection will be made to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, via the Planning Inspectorate.
The planning process provides further opportunities for people to put their comments to the determining bodies so these can be considered alongside our applications. We will provide more information on the application process as our work progresses. In the meantime you can find out more about the planning process at the following websites:
infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk - process for considering applications for development consent for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (such as overhead lines).
planningportal.gov.uk/planning/planningsystem - process for considering planning applications to a local planning authority.
If our applications are approved, we’d expect to start construction in 2019. We think it will take four to five years to build and test the connection, with additional time to reinstate the land and restore it to its previous use.