Increasing security of electricity supplies for both the UK and France.

Onshore cables

  1. The HVAC and HVDC cables related to the converter station will make landfall at Monk’s Hill beach.
  2. We will lay HVDC and HVAC cables to and from the converter station along one of the runways at Solent Airport. We’ll start this work in October 2018 and finish in October 2019.
  3. The HVAC cables will run along the bottom of the Solent to Chilling. We’ll lay these in 2019.
  4. The HVAC cables will make landfall at Chilling.
  5. We will lay HVAC cables between the landfall and connection point at Chilling. We’re carrying out construction work here until September 2018, and then installing the cables in 2019.
  6. The HVAC cables will connect to the national electricity transmission system at a substation in Chilling.


Our HVAC and HVDC cables will connect to the Converter Station, the route from Monks Hill Beach to the Converter Station involves the installation of the cables onto Solent Airport.

Work on the airfield during 2018 and early 2019 involved excavation of trenches and joint bays, installation of ducts for the cables in the trenches, backfilling and reinstatement. Installation of the cables and jointing works will follow on from this work during spring and summer of 2019.

In October 2017, National Grid IFA2 undertook EMF trials on Solent airport. Using AC and DC cable systems installed and energised in the configuration and current rating reflecting the actual conditions in service. This was to verify compliance with the planning conditions and that there was no interference with aircraft avionics.

All participants, including airfield users confirmed that:

  • During the trials all aircraft systems functioned as normal
  • There were no anomalies observed on any of the aircraft avionics
  • Magnetic compass deviation was temporary and minor
  • For more information on Solent Airport please visit

What are we doing in the next three months?

  • We will resume HVAC cable laying work from Chilling to Monks Hill Beach from Sunday 18 August, when we’ll lay the sixth and final cable.

Monks Hill Beach

This is where both the HVAC and HVDC cables will come onshore. All work will take place within a compound in the eastern part of the car park. We’ll access this using a purpose-built haul road through a field to the north of the car park. This will mean full public access to the western part of the car park; the beach and the beach huts are preserved throughout the construction period.

Our work will consist of the excavation of trenches to install the cable ducts, backfilling and reinstatement and the construction of 3 transition joint bays in the car park which will be backfilled and reinstated after completion of the jointing works.

When carrying out this work we will:

  • Ensure the working areas are safely segregated from the public
  • Complete the beach works and work within the eastern car park area within one season (2019)
  • Maintain access to the western section of the car park ensuring that access to all beach huts is maintained.

Monks Hill Beach information poster

HVAC vessel work areas

What are we doing in the next three months?

  • We have established site hoardings around the area to the south of Crofton Avenue which is the main access for our construction traffic down to Monks Hill Car Park.
  • Fencing is in place on the beach and pink buoys are positioned on the water around our jack up barge, the C57 Red Squirrel, to mark out our working construction area. There are open excavations and obstructions under the water and the area is therefore restricted for your safety. Please do not enter this restricted working area on the beach or in the water. For more information please see the poster above.
  • We have completed the installation of sheet piling off Monks Hill Beach. We aim to finish our trenching work there by mid-September and will then begin work to return the beach to its original condition.
  • We have temporarily diverted the public footpath through our site hoardings from the car park to The Shack café while we excavate trenches underneath the footpath route.
  • The NP 289, our cable laying barge has been laying HVAC cables between Monks Hill Beach and Chilling. We paused this work between 9 August and 17 August but will recommence work from 18 August to lay the sixth, and final, HVAC cable.
  • The current position of our vessels can be tracked on the tool on the Offshore Cable section of this site.


The NP 289

C57 Red Squirrel


Chilling is the point that IFA2 will connect to the electricity transmission network. We are laying cables from the shore area to an existing National Grid facility on Chilling Lane.

We have used a technique known as Horizontal Direct Drilling (HDD) to install cables in the shore area. This involves drilling underground and installing a series of ducts, which we then pull the cables through.

Elsewhere, we will dig trenches, bury the ducts, reinstate the ground, and pull the cables through. In all cases, the cables will not be visible when we have finished. For further information on NGET and the work at Chilling please visit: 


To reduce the impact of our project traffic in the area we will do the following:

  • Impose a 10mph speed limit for construction vehicles through Hook Village
  • Escort any HGVs moving through Hook Village
  • Brief drivers about Chilling Lane’s use as a footpath and cycleway

What are we doing in the next three months?

  • We have now completed the crossings over Chilling Lane and Workmans Lane.
  • We returned to site in mid-March after a shutdown period to protect overwintering birds.

Last updated: Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Our fossil heritage revealed

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  • Wednesday, July 31, 2019

    Our fossil heritage revealed

    Fossils estimated to be 40 to 45 million years old are being revealed on Monks Hill beach as IFA2 excavates cable ducts for the interconnector project to link the electricity transmission systems of GB and France.

    Fossils estimated to be 40 to 45 million years old are being revealed on Monks Hill beach as IFA2 excavates cable ducts for the interconnector project to link the electricity transmission systems of GB and France.

    The construction site on Monks Hill Beach has brought an unexpected benefit for local resident and amateur palaeontologist Linda Gardner.

    Linda, from Titchfield, has collected fossils around the world all her life. Monks Hill Beach is one of her favourite sites and she has had fossil finds there including shark, ray, swordfish, turtle and many more over the years.

    Linda brought her extensive fossil collection down to the beach to share with geological consultant Dr Andy King (from Geckoella Ltd) and Dr Dave Evans (from Natural England) who are overseeing the excavation works and who were able to share recent finds with her – including two excellently preserved fossil bivalve shells (called Venericor and Glycymeris), estimated to be 42 million years old.

    Linda said: “The excavation works are turning up material from depths below low tide that would otherwise be inaccessible. It’s a very exciting opportunity to find fossils that would otherwise never be discovered.”

    The excavations pass through clays and silts that represent the Bracklesham Formation. These were formed during the Eocene Period of geological time (56 to 33 million years ago) when mammals evolved from small, simple forms into a large group of diverse animals and the seas were full of marine life including sharks, rays, fish and a huge variety of shells.

    Dave Evans said: “This coast is a Site of Special Interest and is nationally important for its geology and fossils. Natural England wanted to ensure that the beach works provided an opportunity to gain more scientific information about the geology of this site fossils were recovered from the temporary excavations. These fossils and the accompanying data collected by Andy and his team will be deposited in museum collections and available for future research.”

    According to Andy, as part of the Geological Clerk of Works role, “arrangements are also being made during the excavation of the second trench in the autumn for local geologists such as Linda and the Tertiary Research Group to briefly visit the site. They will also have an opportunity to collect samples from a specially arranged rock pile located safely away from the main excavations”.  

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  • Monday, June 10, 2019

    Lost WW2 aircraft lifted from sea after more than 75 years

    A WW2 plane which crashed into the sea more than 75 years ago has been lifted from the Solent.

    This week, specialist divers and archaeologists completed an operation to retrieve the wreckage of a 1943 Fairey Barracuda Torpedo Bomber (believed to be No. BV739) - just in time for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

    The three-seater plane, part of 810 Squadron Royal Navy Air Station, based at Lee-On-Solent is believed to have got into difficulty shortly after taking off for its test flight before crashing 500m from the coast in Portsmouth.

    The Barracuda wreckage is the only one to have ever been found in one piece and the last remaining aircraft of its kind in the UK.

    David Luetchford, Head of IFA2 for National Grid said: “Interconnectors are about bringing us closer to a zero-carbon future, but we must also respect the past. An important part of our job is to always have a thorough and sympathetic approach to archaeological finds. Over the course of the project we’ve inspected over 1,000 targets of interest, many of which were found to be unexploded ordnance, not unusual given the history of this location. However, to have found a 1943 Fairey Barracuda torpedo bomber is incredible and such a key piece of British history.

    It’s not every day you get the chance to play a role in an operation like this and it is very lucky to have found the plane in such a small search area. We surveyed a 180-metre-wide area along the cable route and if we had chosen a slightly different route, there is a good chance the plane would never have been found.”

    Work to fully retrieve the plane started on the 23rd May is expected to take around three weeks in total as experts from Wessex Archaeology are carefully excavating the area around the aircraft and removing large amounts of silt and clay.

    So far, both wings have successfully been lifted out of the waters and the remainder of the plane will be recovered by lifting it in sections over the coming days.

     “The recovery of the Fairey Barracuda will aid an ongoing Fleet Air Arm Museum project to recreate what will be the world’s only complete example of this type of aircraft. This will give us a chance to examine a unique lost piece of aviation history”.

    Once retrieved, the parts will be taken to the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum in Somerset where it will be studied and used to rebuild a full-size Barracuda in the site’s aircraft hangar.

    David Morris, Curator at The National Museum of the Royal Navy has been working on the project for several years and visited four other Barracuda crash sites to retrieve suitable parts.

    He said: “This is an incredible find and a wonderful piece of British history. There are very few blueprints of the Barracuda plane design available so this wreckage will be studied to enable us to see how the plane segments fitted together and how we can use some of the parts we currently have.

    “This find is a huge step forward for our project and we can’t wait to get it back to the museum and share our findings with the public.”

    The plane’s pilot has been named as SUB LNT DJ Williams who managed to escape the crash and survived WW2.

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  • Wednesday, May 8, 2019

    STEM makes a Big Bang!

    We were delighted to be one of forty businesses providing activities for 1000 young people at the STEM at The Big Bang @ Solent STEM event in April. Our team worked with students throughout the day to explore and create electrical circuits.

    The IFA2 team at The Big Bang @ Solent STEM event

    The IFA2 team at The Big Bang @ Solent STEM event

    We were delighted to be one of forty businesses providing activities for 1000 young people at the STEM at The Big Bang @ Solent STEM event in April. Our team worked with students throughout the day to explore and create electrical circuits.

    Jacquie Jones, EBP South Project Manager said ‘The Big Bang Solent is a hugely popular event with schools and businesses. With research showing that the STEM skills shortage costs UK businesses around £1.5 billion per year this is a proactive established event that allows businesses to upskill young people.’

    Jade Fuller, Project Manager of Employment and Skills at Solent LEP said ‘It is vital for employers and businesses to engage their future workforce and Big Bang @ Solent provides a great opportunity for them to do this. The Solent LEP is proud to sponsor events that enable young people to meet with organisations to ensure that they are aware of the future career pathways available to them.’

    The Big Bang @ Solent is organised by EBP South to inspire young people to explore the career opportunities and industries STEM can open up to them.

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