Refusing an electricity connection between Denmark and the UK, which lands in East Lindsey, would “compromise” the UK’s ability to source energy, a planning inquiry has been told.
The inquiry into a planned new underground electricity cable through the Lincolnshire Wolds has opened on Tuesday by planning inspector John Felgate.
National Grid Viking Link is looking to build a 473-mile long electricity interconnector between Bicker Fen near Boston and the substation Revsing in southern Jutland, Denmark – enabling the import of high-voltage electricity.
In his opening statement, Michael Humphries QC, speaking on behalf of NGVL, laid out how the UK is facing “unprecedented challenges to its energy market and said the Viking Link would “having played a vital role” in sourcing energy.
He said the East Lindsey aspect was the “only element of the whole project, both in the UK and in Denmark, for which any consent is still outstanding”.
He told the inquiry: “The Viking Link project is a scheme that will help secure the UK’s future energy security at a time of considerable change, and as such is of vital importance in the national interest.”
He added: “To refuse planning permission would be to compromise the UK’s ability to meet the urgent need for new infrastructure of this type that Government policy clearly supports.”
The plan is to pass under the North Sea, arriving on the Lincolnshire coast next to Sandilands Golf Club south of Sutton on Sea in East Lindsey.
Underground cables passing through the districts of East Lindsey, Boston, North Kesteven and South Holland would carry the electricity around 41 miles to a new converter station before it is connected to the existing National Grid substation.
However, the application was forced to inquiry after East Lindsey District Council refused permission, fearing the impact upon farming and the landscaping.
North Kesteven District, Boston Borough and South Holland District Councils have all granted permission.
ELDC has since refused to defend its decision and now supports the plans, upsetting campaigners who believe the authority should fight the plans in full.
Campaigners say the planned cable will damage the Lincolnshire Wolds, which is classed as an Area of Outstanding Beauty – however, the organisers of the Viking Link say the area will recover.
David Douglas speaking on behalf of Langton Parish Meeting said there were alternative routes which were “more efficient” and raised concerns including drainage and the impact on local heritage monuments and the Langton Estate.’s future plans to build holiday homes.
He said: “Why should the route go through the Area of Natural Beauty, and if it does, why does it follow the purple route of 9km rather than the others which go through less?”