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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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: