Viking Link: Inquiry awaits conclusion

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Organisers and objectors will be left admiring the view of the Lincolnshire Wolds for the next few weeks now that an inquiry into the Viking Link has concluded.

Those for and against the development finished giving evidence on Wednesday, leaving only site visits to take place Thursday before planning inspector John Felgate retires to make his decision on whether part of the cable’s 437-mile route can go through the Wolds.

In a closing statement, David Douglas of Langton Estates said objectors support the need for the project but repeated calls for other route options to be considered and said he felt the cable “will undoubtedly adversely affect the Lincolnshire Wolds.”

He said he believed there would be a long-term negative effect on the economy.

Parish Councillor Richard Moody reiterated his call for residents to be considered and said two-and-a-half years of construction was a long time for them to “put up with the disturbance”.

QC Michael Humphries, in support of National Grid Viking Link, handed out a 46 page closing statement, which concluded earlier points that refusing planning permission would “compromise” the UK’s ability to meet its energy needs.

It said refusal would “waste the very extensive efforts that have already been made,” adding that “the reasons for refusal are not well-founded, and none of the issues raised by any third parties could give rise to any alternative basis for refusal.”

It called permission for this part of the cable the “final piece in the puzzle”.

Planning inspector John Felgate would not be drawn on a date for his decision but said he didn’t have anything else “intervening” and would be “delighting” himself to it over the next few weeks.

The inquiry was opened on Tuesday after East Lindsey District Council initially refused permission for the plans, fearing the impact upon farming and the landscaping. However, it has since had a change of heart.

Read the day-by-day progress of the inquiry, in chronological reverse order, below...

• VIKING LINK INQUIRY: PART THREE (WEDNESDAY EVENING)

A soil and land drainage witness has told a planning inquiry into the Viking Link that East Lindsey and objectors had ‘not provided sufficient grounds for refusal’.

David Royle, of Land Drainage Consultancy, was giving evidence in the morning of the final day of the inquiry into the new underground electricity cable planned by National Grid.

A series of witnesses have today been presenting evidence and reports in support of the route, including planned “trenchless” works which hope to avoid a number of obstacles.

Mr Royle presented evidence created through 247 conceptual land drainage plans, which showed how water would be diverted away from the construction sites planned along the route.

However, he warned: “You can bet your bottom dollar, farmers on this route will be looking over the fence at every opportunity looking to keep their eye on work and making sure work is done properly.”

His evidence followed that of senior development engineer Graham Symons who confirmed the chosen route was “the most suitable from an engineering point of view.”

He praised the flatness of the landscape and said an alternative route proposed by objectors he said included a “fold in the land” which would require more work.

The inquiry into a section which is planned to go through the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Natural Beauty was opened on Tuesday by planning inspector John Felgate.

East Lindsey District Council initially refused permission, fearing the impact upon farming and the landscaping. However, it has since had a change of heart.

• VIKING LINK INQUIRY: PART TWO (WEDNESDAY MORNING)

Objectors have used a planning inquiry into the Viking Link to urge organisers to rethink their route through the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Campaigners highlighted fears that the construction of the 473-mile cable, which leads from Bicker Fen, near Boston, to Revsing, in Southern Jutland, Denmark, would damage the area of natural beauty and put visitors off coming.

During the afternoon session Stephen Jack from the Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service, said the chosen route had “always been our least favourite option”.

“We continue to remain concerned that the route cuts through the area of  natural beauty when there are alternative routes available,” he said.

Parish councillor Richard Moody also raises fears the work would split the three villages of East Keal, West Keal and Keal Cotes, which he said formed one community, by “tri-secting” them.

“Many of the local residents consider their views, their countryside, to be their property,” he said.

He added concerns that the construction would “sterilise future development between the communities”, preventing any building to take place there.

Will Grover, ELDC councillor for Hagworthingham Ward called the Lincolnshire Wolds the “jewel in the crown” of Lincolnshire.

“Quite simply I do not believe NGVL should be allowed to tear through The Wolds, regardless of how temporarily,” he said, adding that he believed the project was “not sustainable”.

However Landscape expert Colin Goodrum said: “The amount of physical changes to hedgerows etc is quite small. It’s arable farmland and very dramatic landscape with big machines operating on it already. There’s a narrow corridor localised extend and I considerate to be a low magnitude effect. Leads to a minor adverse effect in character terms.”

He added: “This vision of a 30 metre corridor swathing through the landscape is a worst case scenario.”

QC Michael Humphries, who represents National Grid Viking Link also pointed out that objectors had not provided their own assessments with evidence of their alleged impacts.

He added that other companies such as Northern Power and Western Power has carried out millions of pounds of underground work across tens of kilometres of the Wolds already.

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 inter-connector between Bicker Fen near Boston and the substation Revsing in southern Jutland, Denmark – enabling the import of high-voltage electricity.

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 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.

• VIKING LINK INQUIRY: PART ONE (TUESDAY)

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?”