Frequently asked questions
The frequently asked questions and answers below has been put together to help address queries from landowners, farmers and the general public. It is aimed at persons with an interest in land who may be affected by the proposed Viking Link project.
What is Viking Link?
Viking Link is a proposed 1,400 Mega Watt (MW) high voltage direct current (DC) electricity link between the British and Danish transmission systems connecting at Bicker Fen substation in Lincolnshire and Revsing substation in southern Jutland, Denmark. The project will involve the construction of a converter station in each country and the installation of submarine and underground cables between each converter station and underground cables between the converter station and substation in each country.
Is Viking Link linked to the Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm project?
No. Viking Link is completely separate.
What stage is the project at now?
The project is in the development stage. We need to apply for, and be granted a planning consent and other associated consents before anything is built.
What work would be involved in the UK onshore scheme?
Pre-construction activities are scheduled to begin in 2019, with construction starting in 2020. Two high voltage DC offshore cables are proposed to be buried under the sea from Denmark and come onshore at the proposed landfall site at Boygrift, near Sandilands, East Lindsey.
The onshore cables, comprising of DC underground electricity cables and an optional smaller fibre optic cable for operational, communication and control purposes, will be laid between the proposed landfall site and the proposed converter station site at North Ing Drove, near Donington, South Holland.
Alternating current cables (AC) will be laid between the converter station and the National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) substation at Bicker Fen from which electricity can then be transported for use in our homes and businesses.
Do you know where you are going to put the cables/landfall site/point of connection?
Bicker Fen substation has been identified as the site for the link to connect into the existing National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) electricity transmission network.
The proposed converter station site is at North Ing Drove, near Donington, in South Holland.
The proposed landfall site is at Boygrift, near Sandilands, East Lindsey on the Lincolnshire coast.
Further information on how we identified the proposed converter station and landfall sites is available within our UK Onshore Scheme: Preferred Sites Selection Report (August 2016).
How does that affect me? Are you going to build on my land?
We would like to access certain pieces of private land to carry out surveys as part of our route assessment work in order to develop the options for cable alignment.
How will you bury the cables?
Typically, the cables would be laid directly in a trench dug using specialized construction equipment or pulled within a plastic duct, which will be laid in the trench and back-filled. The cables will be buried in the trench to a depth of approximately 1.5 metres depending on ground conditions, field drainage and local activities. The onshore cable construction working width is estimated to be up to 30 metres wide with additional areas needed at crossing points as well as other material storage and access points.
Where the cables cross watercourses, roads, railways etc., other installation techniques will be used.
How will this affect my land drains and my ability to farm?
NGVL intends to ensure that land and existing assets such as drains are reinstated to their original condition once cable installation and construction works are completed. There is a need for further studies into drainage and soil types to ensure that these works are done correctly and we welcome input from farmers and landowners. For example, we are keen to see any records relating to drainage and other relevant documentation.
Where open-type trenches have to be excavated, typical construction techniques will involve separation of the topsoil from the subsoil to preserve the existing soil structure. The topsoil will be stored to prevent weed build-up and texture damage. We have engaged a specialist land drainage consultant to ensure that drainage requirements are established and incorporated into the construction programme.
Can anything go on top of the cable route once it’s completed?
Normal agricultural activities can continue once works are completed. Crops can be grown and animals grazed above the cables, although some restrictions may apply to ensure safety is not compromised.
It is not advisable to build or erect any type of permanent structure or plant trees above the cables or within the permanent easement as tree roots and/or other excavation works could damage the cables. In addition we will need access to the cables for future maintenance purposes.
Is there a prescribed minimum distance between properties and underground cables?
UK law does not prescribe any minimum distance between underground cables and homes.
Will I be able to comment on your plans?
Yes. NGVL is keen to engage with persons with an interest in the land to help shape our proposals.
If you would like to comment on our plans, please contact the National Grid Viking Link (NGVL) Land Agents, Dalcour Maclaren.
Will you need land for construction compounds and working areas?
NGVL is undertaking studies to determine what permanent and temporary land will be necessary to facilitate construction and will discuss these requirements with landowners once established.
How will you access the cable corridor to facilitate works?
NGVL is undertaking studies to determine what permanent and temporary land will be necessary, including land for access requirements, to facilitate construction, operation and maintenance of the project and we will discuss requirements with landowners once established.
Why do you need to access my land now?
NGVL needs to get information on ecology, soils, landscape, land use, drainage etc. before the project can decide where to route the underground cables and site any temporary construction compounds. We would like to access land within the proposed route corridor now, to understand if there is anything of ecological importance. Going forward we may want to access some land for boreholes and archaeology studies. Much of this work is best done at certain times of the year and we also need to understand how best to fit the surveys around your land use management.
What happens if I don’t agree to grant permission for survey access across land owned by me?
We would prefer under all circumstances to agree all required access for survey voluntarily. If, however, access cannot be agreed voluntarily National Grid Viking Link Limited (NGVL) does have powers available to it under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to enter and survey land in the absence of consent. This process would only ever be initiated where voluntary agreement is not possible and very much as a last resort and where survey information is essential to the development of the project.
Do you have rights to compulsorily acquire land or land rights?
Yes - NGVL was granted an electricity transmission licence on 12th November 2014, and this confers powers under Schedule 3 of the Electricity Act 1989 to compulsorily acquire land or rights in land. Schedule 3 requires that the implementation of these compulsory acquisition rights is subject to the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 and the Compulsory Purchase Act 1965.
The use of compulsory purchase powers is very much a last resort – we would always look to agree land rights and land acquisition voluntarily where possible.
Will you need to access my land at night?
Some surveys, such as those for amphibians and bats, need to be done at night or at dusk. We will let you know the times we will need to access your land and make arrangements with you to ensure there are no concerns with regards to security.
Are you talking to Internal Drainage Boards and the Environment Agency?
Yes, we are speaking to the three affected Internal Drainage Boards (Lindsey Marsh, Witham Fourth and Black Sluice) as well as the Environment Agency. We are aware of the importance of drainage and the flood defences in the area.
Are you talking to any other bodies who represent landowners and farmers?
Yes, we are consulting with the National Farmers Union (NFU), The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and The Lincolnshire Association of Agricultural Valuers (LAAV).
How will the landfall site be constructed? What land will you need there?
The submarine cables will be joined to the onshore cables in a transition joint pit (TJP) which will be buried underground in land from the sea defences at the proposed landfall site. No above ground infrastructure is required.
How will you join cable sections?
The DC cables will be joined in buried joint bays positioned at 800 to 1000-metre intervals. No above-ground infrastructure is required once the cables are operational.
What rights will you want from me?
If your land is identified as being needed for the project, NGVL will seek to acquire a termed/permanent easement of up to 15 metres wide, which will allow us to construct, operate and maintain the DC cables. A wider area may be required where the cables cross watercourses, roads, railways etc. The easement agreement will also set out how your rights are protected. However the final cable route and form of agreement need to be decided.
What rights to compensation are there?
If we do need to build any equipment on privately owned land, there are regulations that detail when compensation is payable and appropriate levels of compensation will be paid.
Typically, compensation is not payable if equipment is not in or on a person’s land. Should we contact you about your land, this does not indicate an automatic entitlement to compensation. Where we do ultimately propose to place equipment on land, we will work closely with landowners to seek to reduce any potential effects and to negotiate compensation terms. Where applicable, we will also discuss access for survey work we need to undertake as part of our environmental assessments and for engineering purposes.
Will I get paid compensation for access?
NGVL will make advance damage compensation for payments for accessing land for intrusive and non-intrusive surveys.
Will I get compensated for crop losses during construction and in following years as the land recovers?
NGVL will compensate for all reasonable and substantiated losses arising from construction of the project.
What legislation covers these works?
NGVL will be submitting planning applications under Town and Country Planning Act for these works to the relevant local planning authorities.
When will you start to build the cable and how long will it take to build?
The project anticipates that pre-construction activities will commence in 2019 but further studies are required before we can say how long it will take to build.