Consultation update and clarification on plans at Freshwater West Beach, Pembrokeshire
5th April 2019. A third round of consultation events on the proposed Greenlink interconnector, which will connect the electricity grids of Wales and Ireland with a c.200km subsea and underground cable, are scheduled to take place in Pembrokeshire within the next two months in advance of a planning application being submitted by the end of the year. The development of the project is progressing well with a range of technical and environmental surveys under way and the developer, Greenlink Interconnector Limited, is encouraging continued feedback from the public.
In Wales the interconnector cable will come ashore at Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire and connect to the grid at the Pembroke substation. A planning application will be submitted to Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority for the onshore components of the project, and to Natural Resources Wales for the marine components.
In response to concerns that have been raised specifically in relation to the impact on Freshwater West beach, as outlined in a recent petition, Tom Brinicombe, planning & permitting consultant for Greenlink in Wales, has clarified:
“We fully appreciate the beauty of Freshwater West Beach and its value to local residents, visitorsand wildlife and we recognise that some might have concerns about potential damage during construction. It is for this reason that we have been working very hard with independent experts on a range of environmental and technical surveys, the results of which will help us to design the project sensitively and minimise impacts.
As we have stated throughout the development process and at our public exhibitions, the cable will be under the sea or below ground for its entire length from the substation in Ireland to the substation in Wales. The marine cable is laid under the seabed (or covered on undersea rock in places) and when it comes ashore at Freshwater West beach it will be buried all the way to Pembroke substation. I can confirm that there will be no overhead power lines and the cable will not be on the surface of the beach as suggested in the petition. To minimise environmental impacts, it is currently proposed that the cables will be installed by drilling underneath the dunes and beach, subject to further technical assessment work.
Regarding potential disruption, I can confirm that the anticipated three-year construction period is for the full project including the construction of the converter station and installation of cables. The installation of cables using a drill at Freshwater West is likely to last 3 months with a temporary compound located on the fields above the beach and there will be no access restriction to the beach or dunes during this process. Once this is complete, the cabling will be invisible and there will be no fencing or any other permanent structures restricting access.”
Commenting on the local consultation process, Tom added:
“We have been very keen throughout to hear people’s views on the project. Our consultation so far has included seven public exhibitions in Pembrokeshire since last May and meetings with statutory authorities, community representatives and local organisations. At each of these and in our materials we have given detailed information on the proposed design, the ecological considerations and the surveys we are undertaking and have asked for feedback. We are voluntarily conducting a full Environmental Impact Assessment, which allows detailed scrutiny from stakeholders, and our surveys and assessments will be verified by Natural Resources Wales.
We are absolutely committed to producing a planning application of a high standard that works to minimise impacts on residents, the local environment and beach users and we welcome a constructive dialogue throughout to ensure that we deliver this.
I encourage local people to attend our next set of consultation events to share their views on the proposed design, including the preferred cable route and converter station location, or to contact us at any time if they have any concerns.”
Full details of the project, including a calendar of consultation events, can be found on this
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Notes to Editors:
Greenlink is a proposed 500MW, subsea and underground cable interconnector (with
associated converter stations) between the existing electricity grids in Ireland and the UK,
operated respectively by EirGrid and National Grid Electricity Transmission. The project will link the Great Island transmission substation in County Wexford (Ireland) and Pembroke
transmission substation in Pembrokeshire (Wales). The benefits on both sides include stronger energy security, sustainable jobs and investment, and downward pressure on consumer electricity bills.
Constructing and commissioning an interconnector requires the completion of a thorough
programme of environmental and technical assessment to ensure that the final interconnector design fully considers the environment in which it is built. Following public consultation and environmental impact assessment, a planning application is scheduled to be submitted to Pembrokeshire County Council in 2019, with construction due to commence in 2020. The project is due to be commissioned in 2023.