North West Coast Connections Project – N Grid

Enquiry received via email

North West Coast Connections Project - N Grid

29 February 2016
Graham Barron Power Without Pylons


This is an enquiry on behalf of the Power Without Pylons campaign group (PWP).
As you will be aware, this project is due to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate next year, 2017.
National Grid (NG) needs to provide a new 400kV grid connection for the proposed Moorside power station, to connect it to the grid at Heysham, near Lancaster. All the options involve a double 400kV circuit heading north from Moorside, and a double 400kV circuit heading south.
Northern section - this is proposed as a conventional AC OHL line.
Southern section :
At the 2nd stage consultation in 2014 they consulted on 3 options for the southern section:
1.Onshore South
2.Onshore South, with Morecambe Bay tunnel.
3.Offshore South ? this would be an HVDC sub-sea cable connection. It would run as a (trenched) sub-sea cable connection all the way from the Moorside power station to Heysham.
PWP contacted the Office of Nuclear Regulation. In reply they stated:
?subsea transmission would not be a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project? (NSIP).
Can you confirm that a HVDC sub-sea southern route from the proposed Moorside power station would not be treated as an NSIP?

Advice given

The Planning Inspectorate provided the following advice:
The Planning Act 2008 details the thresholds at which certain projects are considered to be Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs). In regard to electric lines, this is explained in section 16 of the Planning Act 2008.
Section 16 explains that above ground electric lines in England and Wales, of 132kV and above, and 2km or over in length (amongst other criteria) are considered to be NSIPs. However, where an above ground electric line NSIP proposal also includes some undergrounding or HVDC, some developers may describe these to be integral to, or associated with, the overhead line and therefore they might still be included in the NSIP application.
If the proposal was solely for an underground or HVDC line (without a generating station or an above ground electric line included in the application), it would not be considered a NSIP, however applicants have the option to apply for a section 35 Direction where the Secretary of State can direct that the proposal is treated as a NSIP.