Aquind decision due within three months as Portsmouth MP set to deliver petition against plan

THE minister in charge of deciding the future of hotly-contested Aquind project will be handed a petition asking him to refuse permission for the project.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 4:55 am

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt will deliver the petition to the business department on Thursday asking Kwasi Kwarteng to reject the plans.

It comes after an examining panel from the Planning Inspectorate who assessed the interconnector plan in a series of public hearings submitted a recommendation.

Mr Kwarteng and his team will make a final decision – but the public cannot see the Examining Authority’s recommendation until then.

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Aquind protester Steve Kinget

A decision must be made on the plans within three months of today.

As reported, the interconnector, which would cost more than £1n, has seen fierce opposition from councils and grassroots protesters Let’s Stop Aquind.

The project is set to bring power cables from France ashore to the UK at Eastney and up to Lovedean.

Last month Ms Mordaunt called for the plan to be halted after a ‘sinister threat’ by France to cut power to Jersey – putting power from the continent in the spotlight.

Today Ms Mordaunt told The News: ‘To pursue the Aquind scheme would make the UK less resilient.

‘Relying on French nuclear power which the French have already threatened to use as a negotiating tool in future discussion in fishing rights is foolish.

‘The impact on Portsmouth and surrounding area would also be appalling.

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‘The secretary of state needs to be aware of the strength of feeling on this issue and put the national interest first.’

Portsmouth City Council lost its power to decide the application when it was declared a nationally significant infrastructure project.

Concerns have been raised about Aquind and its director Alexander Temerko’s donations to the Conservative Party.

Former business secretary Alok Sharma recused himself from making a decision.

Current energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan declared in 2020 a £2,500 donation from Aquind.

Lord Callanan, appointed a business minister in February last year, was a non-executive director at the firm until 2017.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last month said neither will play a role in the decision.

Aquind said its plan will ‘keep the lights on’ for 5m British households, and is an ‘essential part of the national infrastructure’ to meet climate change targets.

It will save consumers between £2bn and £3.8bn and cut CO2 emissions, the spokesman added.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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