Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) hosted East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds to view work which is part of an £8.4m network investment programme for Petersfield and Fernhurst.

The MP and power company representatives discussed how the programme would support the expected increase in electricity demand in the area as more houses are built.

The work in Petersfield will increase its network capacity across the town and beyond, and be able to accommodate low-carbon technologies like electric vehicles (EVs) connecting to the network.

The project includes roads closing and dug up in the town, out to Sheet and along the A272, and from Hillbrow to Rogate where some stretches of overhead cable will be moved underground.

The work was set to start earlier this year, but was postponed because of the coronavirus crisis, and resumed as the lockdown eased.

The £8.4m work also includes upgrading nearly 15km of electricity infrastructure serving the homes and businesses of Petersfield and Fernhurst.

Mr Hinds said: “We know increasing capacity for electrification will be important as we work towards reaching our net zero target for carbon emissions by 2050.

“So I welcome this investment locally by SSEN.

“It was good to discuss the EV transition and the potential impact for local businesses and residents.”

Chris Slingsby, SSEN’s head of major projects in the south, said: “Network investment will be critical to realising and accommodating the UK’s net zero ambitions.

“The Petersfield investment is part of a rolling programme we manage to ensure our network performance continues to improve and delivers a service the communities we serve expect.

“I’d like to thank Damian for taking the time to visit and discuss our ambitions for Hampshire, and distribution area across central southern England.”

The UK has a legally-binding commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Surface transport is the largest source of UK carbon emissions, with cars responsible for approximately 40 per cent of the total.

The decarbonisation of the transport sector will require extensive electrification, bringing new demand on the network.

Leading distribution network operator SSEN is working to understand how to manage and accommodate this increased demand.