Aquind in Portsmouth: Copies of The News are delivered to Westminster to show strength of opposition to interconnector plan
BUSINESS secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has been presented with the views of Portsmouth over a controversial £1.2bn interconnector plan, which campaigners insist would be a ‘disaster for the city’.
The News travelled directly to the corridors of power in Westminster to hand over yesterday’s copy of the paper to Mr Kwarteng’s office at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Inside, was an open letter to the Tory MP, alongside views from campaigners and city MPs, who are all vehemently against the plan to build the interconnector, which would bring energy from France to the UK.
The fate of the power cable proposal - which campaigners insist will cause havoc and congestion across Portsea while being built - lies with Mr Kwarteng, who has 19 days left to make his decision.
Aquind, the firm behind the plan, claimed the new undersea cable would ‘keep the lights on in 5m British households, help hit net-zero targets and reduce electricity prices, saving consumers between £2bn and £3.8bn’.
But those against the plan, including cabinet minister Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, and her opposite number in the city, Labour’s shadow armed forces minister, Stephen Morgan, have condemned the project.
Ms Mordaunt, who is now minister of state for trade, said: ‘This project is a disaster for our city, our national resilience, and for our national security.’
The handing over of Portsmouth’s views yesterday came ahead of a major demonstration against the Aquind plans, outside Portsmouth’s Guildhall building today.
Organised by the Stop Aquind action group, the rally is expected to draw dozens of people into the city centre to once again voice their opposition to the interconnector.
Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan will demand the business secretary heeds the city’s views.
He is expected to say: ‘Aquind is a project that’s mired in Tory cronyism, offering nothing for our city, but bringing with it untold disruption to our daily lives and damage to our precious natural environment.
‘From my 6,200 signature public petition that was signed by local people and submitted to Parliament last month, to the open letter from our local paper delivered to the business secretary just yesterday, one thing is clear.
‘The people of Portsmouth are united: the Aquind interconnector project must be stopped.
‘If the decision does not go our city’s way, the council must take the fight immediately to a judicial review. It is in their power to start that work, and to start it now.’
As well as handing in a copy of The News to the business secretary’s office, a copy of The News’s open letter to the secretary state was also submitted to form part of the official inquiry into the interconnector project.
Today’s rally in Guildhall is expected to take place from midday.