Minister Van der Hoeven of Economic Affairs and Minister Cramer of Spatial Planning and the Environment have finalized the route of the northern section of the Randstad 380-kV connection between Beverwijk and Zoetermeer. Besides this northern section totalling some 65 km, the high-voltage connection also includes a southern section of approximately 20 km running from Wateringen to Zoetermeer. The Ministers finalized the route of this southern section earlier this year.
In a letter to the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament, the Ministers indicated that most of the high-voltage connection would be constructed above ground. In locations where an overhead line would be problematic, however, the connection will be installed below ground. Because only a small number of electricity connections carrying this capacity have been installed below ground anywhere in the world, it is not known how such a connection would behave in the long term. In the section from Beverwijk to Wateringen, the Ministers have therefore decided to install no more than approx. 20 km of the line below ground. Some 10 km of the southern section will be installed below ground.
Special circumstances have been taken into account in deciding to construct certain sections of the connection below ground. These may include close proximity to residential areas or locations where the electricity connection would pass through areas of great natural beauty or high ecological value. In evaluating this aspect, the Ministers have considered the viewpoints and arguments submitted in response to the provisional route as published in the initial memorandum, as well as the results of the provisional Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the outcome of administrative consultation procedures at the provincial and municipal level.
Route of Northern section
It has been decided to construct some 9 km of the northern section below ground, in the following line sections:
- Below the North Sea Canal (approx. 1 km). This is necessary to guarantee sufficient clearance for shipping traffic.
- To the east of Hoofddorp. A revised version of the Key Planning Decision ‘Randstad 380-kV connection, Haarlemmermeer-East section’ was previously made available for public inspection. This means that possible routes to the west and to the east of Hoofddorp have been investigated. Following the results of an environmental study and given the region’s requirements with regard to housing, nature, recreation and water, it has been decided to select the route to the east of Hoofddorp. Because of the proximity of Schiphol Airport, the eastern route provides insufficient room for aboveground pylons. Part of the high-voltage connection will therefore be installed below ground.
- From the southern part of the Haarlemmermeer Ring Canal to beyond the Rijpwetering ribbon development. An overhead high-voltage line here would constitute a new intrusion on the protected ‘Green Heart’ region. The Environmental Impact Assessment concluded that the area in question is vulnerable ecologically and in terms of landscape because of the presence of the Kagerplassen peat lakes, an important recreational area.
Any aboveground sections of the route will be constructed to minimize negative environmental effects while taking due account of other interests and stakeholders. The Minister of Economic Affairs and the Minister of Spatial Planning and the Environment have also decided to install cable to bypass the final bottleneck in the southern section of the Randstad 380-kV connection (between Wateringen and Zoetermeer). The belowground cable section concerned is located to the west of the Tanthof residential district (where the connection bypasses Delft to the west). Some 700 m of additional cable will be laid here.
The Ministers have explained their decision regarding the final route in a letter to the Lower House. On the basis of this letter, TenneT will apply for all the necessary permits and exemptions from the relevant administrative authorities. In the meantime, the Ministers will put together a draft National Integration Plan incorporating the final route.