AQUIND Interconnector

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

AQUIND Interconnector

Received 18 February 2020
From Highways England

Representation

Dear Sir/Madam Highways England wishes to register as an interested party in respect of the application by Aquind Limited for an Order Granting Development Consent for the Aquind Interconnector. Highways England is a strategic road authority appointed by the Secretary of State as the highway authority, traffic authority and street authority for the Strategic Road Network (SRN). In respect of the application our particular interest is in the A27 Trunk Road. Amongst other things Highways England's licence to operate as a strategic highway authority requires us to ensure the effective operation of the SRN; protect and improve its safety and to conform to the principle of sustainable development. Sustainable development means encouraging economic growth while protecting the environment and improving safety and quality of life for current and future generations. The Secretary of State's policy in respect of the SRN and the delivery of sustainable development is set out in Department for Transport Circular 02/2013 (Strategic Road Network and the Delivery of Sustainable Development). Highways England has been actively engaged in discussion with the applicant and its project team up to the present time with a view to ensuring that the proposed Aquind Interconnector will not have a severe and detrimental impact on the SRN. Discussions are ongoing and meetings will be arranged with the applicant and neighbouring highway authorities as necessary. Currently formal agreement has not been reached between Highways England and the Applicant due to insufficient information available at this time. In particular the draft Order contains no protective provisions for the benefit of Highways England, these should, for example, provide for the procedures to ensure the safety and structural integrity of the SRN. Also the traffic impacts of the proposed development on the SRN during construction and operation and any mitigation required have not been established to the satisfaction of Highways England. Accordingly Highways England at this stage currently formally objects to the making of the draft Order until agreed next steps are in place. In summary the currently identified issues to be resolved are as follows: We are in ongoing dialogue with the applicant to develop assessments to identify the potential impacts to SRN and to the local road network. This in turn will be used to develop and identify an appropriate traffic management package throughout the period of construction to ensure the continued safety of the travelling public. It is recognised that the majority of impacts will be on the local road network managed by Hampshire County Council and Portsmouth City Council respectively, therefore agreement will need to be reached by all three highway authorities. Discussion is ongoing and meetings have been arranged and it is anticipated this will be resolved prior to examination. It will be necessary for the applicant to gain formal agreement to drill beneath the A27. This is expected to be approved under a New Roads and Street Works Act license which will be supported by detailed geotechnical assessments to ensure the structural integrity of the SRN at all times. Dialogue has commenced between Highways England geotechnical advisors and the applicant to detail the information required by Highways England and for Highways England to provide any information it holds to inform subsequent assessments. It is recognised that the drilling will take place 18 metres beneath the A27, therefore risk to the A27 is low, and due to this we anticipate this matter will be resolved prior to or during the examination. Within the book of reference there are a number of parcels of land identified as registered to Highways England. We believe this is incorrect and should be registered to Hampshire County Council as they are subsoils for roads that where de-trunked a number of years ago. Only parcel number 7-22 to our understanding, is correctly registered to Highways England. We will shortly commence dialogue with Hampshire County Council to resolve this issue and it is anticipated it will be resolved prior to or during the examination. Dialogue continues between the Applicant and Highways England with a view to reaching agreement before the end of the Examination and a Statement of Common Ground (SOCG) is expected to be submitted before the Examination begins.