London, 29 October 2020

Aquind Director, Richard Glasspool, has recently given an interview to a BBC programme (Politics South).

In the interview Mr. Glasspool spoke about the benefits of AQUIND Interconnector and addressed some questions on cable installation in Portsmouth.

Please find below the transcript of the conversation with Mr. Glasspool.


Peter Henley: Okay. So, give us the reasons why it’s nationally important then.

Emily Hudson: Well, let’s just go back a bit because interconnectors aren’t actually new. There has been one, which linked France and Kent since 1986, that’s IFA and just a few weeks ago, IFA2 came online that links Fareham and Portsmouth. So this is not a particularly radical idea, but yes we do have an issue with energy supply and demand. Demands increasing, more electric vehicles, more households 5G, but our supply is becoming more of an issue with our nuclear power stations heading for retirement. And although we’ve heard a lot of talk about us being at the forefront of renewable energy we’re not actually there yet. So when I spoke to AQUIND earlier in the week they said this would help stabilise energy supplies. It could actually give 5% of Great Britain’s energy needs. Richard Glasspool, who is the Director who spoke to me about it, he was saying that he understood Portsmouth were upset about the temporary disruption during the 18-month installation, but it would only be temporary and I asked him how he felt the consultation phase was going.

Richard Glasspool: We think we’ve done a huge amount of work particularly with councils and especially Portsmouth City Council. We’ve had a number of meetings; we’ve discussed all their concerns. Generally we have done our best to listen to people, take on all their feedback and to adjust our plans where we can.

Emily Hudson: Many people are very upset about the effect this work will have on the wildlife of the area. What can you say to try and reassure them about that?

Richard Glasspool: There is something like 22 different aspects of the environment we’ve looked at including wildlife, but it covers everything from pollution to habitats to agriculture, to everything. So we’ve had to prepare base water groundwork and surveys, we have had to do a lot of detailed work on trying to understand what the risks would be when we install and construct the cable routes. You know, how can we manage those risks to minimise the impact on the habitats etcetera and that’s all contained in very, very detailed submissions by environmental assessments.

Richard Glasspool: So we are very sensitive to those issues.

Emily Hudson: The allotment owners you’ll know have raised their concerns as well because you have said you may need to remove vegetation and remove structures.

Richard Glasspool: Trust me; we’re not going to touch any allotments. We’re doing something called horizontal direct drilling. So we’re going to go under or bypass those allotments. So the only thing that we need is certain access in terms of land rights, some temporary land rights that we can have access to do that drilling. So the allotment holders can be rest assured that we will not be taking any of their allotments away from them.

Emily Hudson: Why do you think Portsmouth City Council are objecting so much?

Richard Glasspool: I suspect that Portsmouth City Council doesn’t see any real direct benefit. I mean there are a lot of wider benefits. It’s a contribution to the carbon zero agenda that we have. It’s about the security of energy supply. Certainly, the other big benefit to consumers is where we can import cheaper electricity from a continent that helps to depress consumer prices there will be those wider economic, socioeconomic benefits for the south of England as a whole.

Peter Henley: That was good to hear the other side of the story.