IFA2 Ready For Take Off After Short Delay at Daedalus Airport

Power pipes at Lee-on-the-Solent
Power pipes at Lee-on-the-Solent

A major engineering project is underway at Solent airport this Spring. Interconnexion France Angleterre 2 or IFA2 will “enhance the security, affordability and sustainability of energy supply to both countries.” says Fareham Borough Council, as politicians in Westminster negotiate a move towards Brexit, following last years European Union referendum. (1)

Conduits with electrical cables that can transport 40,000 volts of DC voltage have been installed alongside the runway at Daedalus Airport Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire this month. This is part of a futuristic infrastructure proposal approved by the council in 2017.

Deep trenches have been dug parallel to the 1309 meter runway. Precast steel tubes have been laid more than 2.7 metres down into the ground.

There has been a lot of construction vehicles and activity and more than a dozen men have been working hard to complete this important work that local leaders hope will update the areas power services for the 21st century.

A big brand new exchange substation at Daedalus will convert electricity from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) and then it will connect up to the national grid at Chilling Lane near Warsash in Hampshire.

Richard a Project Manager for Durkin who are the company contracted to undertake the works explained how “The recent rain has delayed the project but good progress being made this week and the works should be finished by the end of the month” (2)

Tests were carried out at the end of 2018 to check the massive electrical cables do not interfere with aircraft navigation and radar equipment. The 23 and 05 runway has remained active throughout the excavation activity, although it has been helpful that it has been the low season for aviation in the UK.

The new network design and central building has been approved by Fareham Borough council but is controversial as the area already has a landmark power station on the Southampton coastline at Fawley. 1134 local residents objected to the Council’s scheme a BBC article reported. (3)

According to the Daily Echo, Stubbington Councillor Carolyn Henegan stated that the £500 million new power station “Its an unnecessary large building that is taking up ten acres of land which could be used for commercial purposes.” (4)

These new electrical cables provide the main link that goes directly to the national grid that powers the south coast of England. The main electrical cable stretches underwater across the Solent from Normandy in France.

Fareham Borough Council’s business development strategy involves delivering an ambitious plan for Lee on the Solent’s historic airport. This vision includes modern hangers, taxiways, a new cafe and club house and a variety of commercial buildings to support an energetic program of economic development.

(1) Fareham Borough Council website 3 Apr 2019 http://www.fareham.gov.uk/planning/ifa2.aspx

(2) Durkin & Sons Ltd construction company http://www.durkinandsons.co.uk/

(3) ‘Fareham Borough Council approves UK-France power plans’ BBC News 23 Jan 2017 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-38723864

(4) ‘Contraversial £500m fareham power station plan approved by Fareham Borough Council’ by Richard Percival, Southern Daily Echo, 18 Nov 2017 https://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/15669563.controversial-500m-fareham-power-station-plan-approved-by-fareham-borough-council/