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IFA2 is an undersea interconnector which will run between the UK and France, and is being developed by National Grid (UK) and RTE (France). Connecting the electricity systems of the two countries, it will increase energy security, reduce energy costs and enable the use of renewable energy sources. The IFA 2 interconnector project was the first project in the UK to be consented in line with the TEN-E Regulation EU347/2013.

We were commissioned to undertake peer review during the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project to ensure that all elements of the project consent submissions would stand up to a heightened degree of scrutiny. We also provided advice to mitigate risks of delays in receiving consent. Specifically, we undertook the following:

  • A full and detailed peer review of the marine EIA, Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA), Water Framework Directive (WFD) assessment and Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) Assessment.
  • Development of the strategy for effective stakeholder engagement and attended consultation with key consultees.
  • Provided strategic advice on consenting for the offshore aspects of cable project.
  • Developed the pre-construction seagrass monitoring survey scope and subsequently resourced and managed the surveys, the results of which we used to feed into the engineering design for the project.

Following consent, we were asked to continue in the provision of strategic offshore consents and environmental advice on environmental legislative requirements and the discharge of consent conditions. We were also asked to lead the process for securing the necessary consents for unexploded ordinance (UXO) detonation works in view of more stringent (albeit untested) guidance in relation to marine mammals. We have also undertaken a series of site audits at the landfall and converter station site and have advised on environmental management issues during construction.