Britain was forced to reconsider its £1.4 billion English Channel power cable project

The High Court in London has overturned a government decision to block a £1.4 billion undersea power cable to France planned by an energy consortium backed by two born tycoons. in Russia and Ukraine.

Plans to place a connecting device from the south coast city of Portsmouth that could supply up to 5% of the UK’s energy from the French grid were rejected by Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary at the time. agreed to develop last January.

In response, Aquind, the company behind the plans, sought a review of the court’s decision.

On Tuesday, the court ruled that the government would need to reconsider its refusal to license the development of an undersea high-voltage cable on four of the seven grounds in the judicial review process. Aquind only needed one person to reverse the decision.

The case will now return Shapps . allowancebusiness clerk, to redefine the part based on a court ruling.

Aquind is partly owned by Viktor Fedotov, of Russian descent, and Alexander Temerko, of Ukrainian descent, a former arms executive and former director of the Russian oil company Yukos.

Temerko is a prominent sponsor for Conservatives, which together with Aquind has given around £1.5 million to the party and its MPs, and has voiced support for former prime minister Boris Johnson in the past. Both Fedotov and Temerko are British citizens.

The project has been the focus of protests between Portsmouth’s partisans and environmental campaigners as well as opposition by Conservative Ministers Penny Mordaunt and Stephen Morgan of the Labor Party – both are local MPs who have raised concerns about “damage to national security”.

Aquind has said that it “refutes any hint of a security risk”. Temerko criticized Mordaunt, a Tory MP, for “political interference” in the project.

Morgan said Tuesday’s announcement would be “a bitter blow” to locals.

“From the outset, it was clear that this project would bring untold disruption to our daily lives and natural environment with no apparent benefit. Meanwhile, the close relationship of company directors with government ministers continues to raise suspicions,” he said.

Mordaunt said she believes the government’s decision is “correct” and will be upheld. “I also know that our whole community is going to make again why this is so damaging, not just for our local area but for the UK as a whole.”

The project, a 2,000-megawatt submarine and submarine transmission link via Portsmouth in Hampshire to Normandy in France, will have the capacity to transmit up to 16 million MWh of electricity annually, or about 5% and 3% of the total. consumption by the United Kingdom and France, respectively.

Richard Glasspool, director of Aquind, said in a statement that the company “looks forward to re-engaging with local residents, stakeholders, environmental and energy professionals in pursuit of its commitment to responsiveness.” UK zero energy target”.

Aquind’s law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills, said the case focused on evaluating alternative locations.

The government said it was “disappointed by the outcome but we will consider the ruling carefully before deciding on next steps”.

Aquind has spent £60m on preliminary work on the project and says it has attracted “significant sums” to finance the pre-construction phase of the project.

Aquind will complete the bidding process and proceed with the initial construction phase if and when the government agrees to develop the project, which was first launched in 2015.

The group says the new link will help address power generation infrastructure shortages in south-east England, “strengthening energy security and resilience to fossil fuel price and supply shocks.” by connecting electricity generation capacity in the UK and France”.

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