PUBLIC CONSULTATION AFTER THE PRELIMINARY CONSULTATION

Public consultations are a key part of our commitment to engaging positively with all stakeholders throughout the development, construction and operation of the GridLink project in France and the UK. We welcome the contributions from the public consultations, and intend to take all comments and recommendations into account in our planning, design and implementation of the GridLink project.

After the preliminary consultation was completed in March 2018, GridLink carried out a range of land and seabed surveys, engineering studies and regulatory procedures.  During this interim period, we carried out meetings with key interest groups to inform them of progress and the updated schedule for implementing the lessons learned.

In September 2019, we started the preparation of the Environmental Impact Assessment and application for environmental authorisation. Therefore, in accordance with the commitments made at the end of the preliminary consultation, a new phase of public consultation also started at this time. Two public meetings, thematic meetings with local professionals and associations and meetings with the mayors of the local communities (Bourbourg, Loon-Plage, Mardyck and Craywick) were carried to present the progress of the GridLink project and environmental studies.

The final phase of public consultations have been completed in October 2020 prior to the application for environmental authorisation, including two public meetings, thematic meetings and distribution of information about the GridLink proposals to local residents. In addition, a virtual exhibition has been set up on the GridLink web-site providing the opportunity for local people to learn about the project and make comments or ask questions.

Throughout the public consultations, the GridLink web-site has provided project information and latest news. The public can also download documents (meeting minutes, presentation material, technical reports or maps, etc.) and contact the GridLink project team.

The reports on the lessons learned from the prior consultation are available at the following links:
https://gridlinkinterconnector.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Bilan-garant-CNDPInterconnexion-GridLink.pdf
https://gridlinkinterconnector.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Projet-GridLink-_-Dossier-des-enseignements-tires-vdef.pdf

The progress related to the commitments made in the report on the lessons learned from the prior consultation is summarised below:

General: Improve the functionality and appearance of the website to encourage the exchange and participation of a wider audience

The web-site has been corrected whenever an error or improvement has been identified.

New documents have been uploaded when available, and Latest News has been updated at important points.

In addition, GridLink has updated the design of the web-site in October 2019 and August 2020 to improve its functionality and visual appearance.

Consultation meetings (a): Organization of additional consultation meetings:

  • When the environmental and technical studies are sufficiently advanced to be able to present the first elements of assessment of the impacts of the project in the various zones
  • Just before the filing of administrative authorization requests including the public inquiry

GridLink has organised two additional phases of consultations in October-December 2019 and September-October 2020, each consisting of two public meetings, thematic meetings, meetings with mayors and publicity to local residents.

The public meetings were advertised in newspapers, media and town halls. Leaflets were distributed to approximately 7,000 residential addresses in Bourbourg, Loon-Plage, Mardyck, Craywick and Saint-George-sur-Aa.

All the minutes and presentations of the consultation meetings are available below.

Web-site (b): Web-site open and functional throughout the duration of the authorization request procedures:

  • Improved architecture to switch between FR / EN versions
  • Improved links to allow audience to ask questions / comments / opinions
  • Addition of the non-technical summary
  • Added the ability to download technical studies (when completed and not confidential)
  • Added the ability to download major documents and internet links
  • Addition of links to / from the RTE web-site
  • Addition of a FR summary of the consultation mechanisms conducted in the UK and on the approach in France in English
  • Presentation of a general project schedule.

The web-site has been available continuously since the prior consultation and has been redesigned.

The content of the web pages has been notably reworked, and the links to other web-sites (RTE, European Commission, etc.) are available.

Numerous updated documents relating to the project and the consultation can be downloaded.

The schedule and latest news is regularly updated.

All the information is available in French and English.

Project of Common Interest (PCI) consultation (c): Publication on the web-site of the planned schedule for obtaining administrative authorizations, the procedures for public participation and a report on public participation.

Specific elements to find on the website in FR and ENG version:

  • Information brochure
  • Non-Technical Summary of less than 50 pages updated regularly with indications of changes between each version
  • Public consultation schedule with dates / locations of events and topics discussed
  • Contact information for obtaining complete files of administrative authorization requests
  • Contact information to make comments or objections in the context of consultations
  • Link to the website of the European Commission

The public consultations in France and the UK have complied with the requirements for a Project of Common Interest (PCI).

The required information and documents are made available on the web-site.

Consultation Fontaine (d): In order to concretely explain the articulation between consultation under the Environment Code and Fontaine consultation:

  • Organize thematic workshops, meetings organized by GridLink at the scale of the overall project so that they take place before the ILC;
  • Publish the minutes of these meetings held as part of the downstream consultation (or information concerning them) on the GridLink website;
  • To reference the CRs published on the GridLink site.

In addition, specific information will be provided following the Local Consultation Authority on the GridLink project website and shared in during joint consultation meetings between the two contracting authorities

The progress of the consultation Fontaine procedure has been explained at all the public meetings and thematic meetings.  The results of the consultations are included in the minutes of meetings published on the GridLink web-site.

The web-site also includes a link to the RTE web-site, where the details of the consultation Fontaine are presented.

Participation in environmental studies (e): Communication with farmers, fishermen and environmental associations on the implementation, duration and schedule of environmental studies (by thematic meetings).

Upon request, sharing of data, assessments and reports of environmental studies with public stakeholders and interest groups.

The environmental studies included, amongst others, a pedology study carried out by the Chambre d’Agriculture du Nord – Pas-de-Calais, a VALPENA study carried out by the professional fishermen, a watergangs sensitivity study with the participation of the Première Section of Wateringues and a geophysical and geotechnical survey carried out by Geotec.  These organisations have local knowledge and experience.  The studies were planned and coordinated with the local stakeholders and, for example, a meeting was held with farmers before the start of the geophysical and geotechnical survey to inform them about the operations to be carried out.

The results of the environmental studies will be published in the environmental impact assessment report.  The information is also shared with stakeholders during thematic meetings when requested.

Coordination with other projects in development (f): Cooperation and coordination of technical designs, construction activities and schedule with other stakeholders to ensure that there is no accumulation of impacts.

The route of the underground and submarine cables, and the sites of the converter station and the Bourbourg electrical substation have been adapted to take into account the new projects under development in the territory (zone of large industries, CAP 2020, offshore wind farm, etc.).

Discussions have also taken place on this subject with the Direction Départementale des Territoires et de la Mer (DDTM) (a department of the Préfecture du Nord).

The environmental assessment takes into account and analyzes the cumulative impacts of the GridLink project with other known projects that could be built at the same time as GridLink. This will be the subject of a specific part of the environmental impact study.

Consultation for good coordination with other project promoters in the area will continue until the construction work.

ERC measures (g): Taking into account all the environmental sensitivities identified by prior consultation during the impact study report and, if appropriate, proposal for ERC measures.

Avoidance, mitigation and compensation measures (ERC acronym in French) will be published in detail in the environmental impact assessment report. They take into account the technical and environmental studies carried out as part of the development of the GridLink project and also discussions during public consultation.

Local employment and economic benefits (h): Support for the employment of local workers and the awarding of contracts to local businesses located in the Dunkirk area.

For the development phase, GridLink uses local companies, including Happy Day (communications agency), Arcadis (environmental consultant), Geotec (survey company), Chambre d’Agriculture du Nord – Pas-de-Calais (pedology study) and professional fishermen (VALPENA study and fishing activities).

For the construction phase, the Tender for the construction contract includes clear requirements to encourage the use of locally qualified and experienced suppliers and workers for the construction works.   Specific procedures to select local suppliers and recruit local workers will be implemented prior to start of construction.

Please find links to the documents related to public consultation in France below:

  1. Minutes of meeting with AQUANORD 06.06.2018 (FR)
  2. Minutes of meeting with ADELFA (Assemblée de défense de l’environnement du littoral Flandre-Artois) 06.06.2018 (FR)
  3. Minutes of meeting with chamber of agriculture 06.06.2018 (FR)
  4. Minutes of meeting with professional fishermen 06.06.2018 (FR)
  5. Presentation slides from interim consultation meetings 07.06.2018 (FR)
  6. Minutes of meeting with freshwater fishermen 07.06.2018 (FR)
  7. Minutes of meeting with ville de Bourbourg 29.10.2019 (FR)
  8. Minutes of meeting with ville de Loon-Plage 29.10.2019 (FR)
  9. Minutes of meeting with ville de Mardyck 29.10.2019 (FR)
  10. Minutes of meeting with ville de Craywick 30.10.2019 (FR)
  11. Minutes of meeting with communauté urbaine de Dunkerque 30.10.2019 (FR)
  12. Minutes of meeting with professional fishermen 30.10.2019 (FR)
  13. Minutes of meeting with l’ADELFA (Assemblée de défense de l’environnement du littoral Flandres Artois) 20.11.2019 (FR)
  14. Minutes of meeting with conseil de développement Grand Port Maritime de Dunkerque 20.11.2019 (FR)
  15. Presentation slides from consultation meetings 20.11.2019 (FR)
  16. Minutes of public meeting at Loon Plage 03.12.2019 (FR)
  17. Minutes of public meeting at Bourbourg 10.12.2019 (FR)
  18. Presentation slides from public meetings 10.12.2019 (FR)
  19. Minutes of consultation fontaine meeting with ILC 31.08.2020 (FR)
  20. Presentation slides from the consultation fontaine meeting with ILC 31.08.2020 (FR)
  21. Minutes of meeting with ville de Craywick 01.10.2020 (FR)
  22. Minutes of meeting with l’ADELFA (Assemblée de défense de l’environnement du littoral Flandres Artois) 01.10.2020 (FR)
  23. Minutes of meeting with professional fishermen 29.09.2020 (FR)
  24. Minutes of meeting with Virage Energie 02.10.2020 (FR)
  25. Minutes of meeting with chamber of agriculture 02.10.2020 (FR)
  26. Minutes of meeting with ville de Bourbourg 07.10.2020 (FR)
  27. Minutes of public meeting at Bourbourg 07.10.2020 (FR)
  28. Minutes of public meeting at Loon-Plage 14.10.2020 (FR)
  29. Presentation slides from public meetings 14.10.2020 (FR)