The De Vijvers residents’ association, national grid operator TenneT and the municipality of The Hague have agreed several modifications to the original plan for the new high-voltage substation to be built near the Wateringse Veld residential district in The Hague. TenneT will make a number of changes to the substation, including partial rearrangement of the site. In exchange the residents’ association and municipality will discontinue legal proceedings against construction of the substation.
Following intensive negotiations over the past weeks, the parties reached agreement on what for the residents will be the improved spatial embedding of the planned 150/380-kV substation. Provisions in the agreement include demolition of the existing above-ground high-voltage pylons that run through the ecological zone alongside the residential district towards Rijswijk. They will be replaced by an underground cable. Additionally, two of the six 150-kV transformers to be built will be installed at a different location on the site, further away from the residential district.
TenneT has also agreed not to build anything on the north-western side of the substation for the coming ten years. The parties are still consulting on what will be done with the space freed up at the Wateringen substation. They are also jointly exploring where in the vicinity the four remaining 150-kV transformers will be built.
TenneT is pleased with the voluntary agreement. “The Wateringen substation is an essential link in the national high-voltage grid,” said Mel Kroon, TenneT’s President and CEO. “There is a lot of pressure to construct this substation on time to safeguard the future electricity supply in the region. The agreement now reached demonstrates that the need for the substation can be balanced with the requirements of constructing it in a densely populated area.”
Jan Schraven, chairman of the residents’ association, said the modifications to the substation represented an improvement of the residential environment compared with the original plan. “The proposal gives residents 40% of the 100% they would have preferred,” he said. “We would rather not have the substation anywhere near our homes. But the modifications proposed by TenneT are quite acceptable. Technical changes and better use of space mean the substation will be approximately 125 m away from the homes. The distance in the original plan was 90 m.” Helene Vooys, member of the association’s executive committee, added: “After campaigning for more than three years, lobbying politicians and losing two court cases, it’s basically a question of counting your blessings. Anyway, the entire residential district will benefit from the voluntary agreement because under the proposal the remaining pylons in the ecological zone will disappear underground.”
The municipality of The Hague is happy with the agreed agreements. Alderman Marnix Norder (Construction & Housing) said: “We do not consider this the most elegant solution, because we would have preferred the substation to be built elsewhere, but we are glad that we finally have a solution. Over the past few years the municipality and the residents have acted in unison to find a solution, and we are glad that approach has borne fruit.”
TenneT has already started preparations at the site, including making the land ready for construction work. The substation is due to go into service in 2010.