Aquind: The News' open letter to business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to oppose disruptive plan

Dear Mr Kwarteng,

Friday, 1st October 2021, 4:55 am
Members of the 'Let's Stop Aquind' campaign at the Kill The Bill demo in the Guildhall Square, Portsmouth

Today The News calls on you to reject in their totality the plans for Aquind’s interconnector that would, if allowed, wreak havoc on Portsmouth.

For our city there can be no other decision. You alone have it in your power to refuse this damaging and unwanted scheme.

This is not the first letter you have received about Aquind.

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Kwasi Kwarteng Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images

But unlike those sent from the shadows by its lobbying multi-millionaire directors, the thousands affected by this wrecking ball will not need freedom of information laws to read it.

It’s argued by Aquind that the cross-channel subsea cable would cut Britain’s emissions, create jobs, reduce energy costs and supply five per cent of the country’s electricity.

These claimed benefits would only arise following disruption and damage to our community along the 12-mile route that would far outweigh the gains, if they are ever achieved.

It is not an over-exaggeration to say the very fabric of Portsmouth and the surrounding area would be torn if this scheme goes ahead.

There are clear and unrelenting reasons why you can dispassionately tell say no to Aquind:

:: Road closures on this island city, and diversions to cycle routes and pathways more widely, will cause immense frustration. There are just three routes in and out of the island, and interference to any of them causes delays elsewhere.

:: Air pollution during construction will affect individuals’ health, particularly at a time when the city is trying to reduce already dangerously-high levels.

:: Noise from the construction work will annoy and frustrate, not just drivers, and residents but also pupils and teachers in the 22 schools within 500 metres of sections of the route.

:: Loss of parking spaces, as trenches are dug to install the cables piece by piece, will cause difficulties for residents who already struggle to park at home.

:: Weeks upon weeks of disruption at sports, football and cricket grounds will reduce much-needed space for exercise - with Aquind offering just £100,000 in compensation.

:: Vital sea defences work costing £100m and designed to protect 4,000 homes are at risk of being delayed.

:: When the highly-disruptive work is eventually complete, the landscape at Eastney will take 10 years to recover, and Lovedean will be scarred with an ugly converter station.

:: The use of Victorious Festival’s campsite at Farlington Playing Field could affect an event that in 2019 benefited the local economy to the tune of £12.5m.

:: The roughshod treatment of residents, farmers and business owners has left them feeling threatened by compulsory purchase orders.

These are just some of the concerns - notwithstanding concerns over the lobbying of you and your colleagues and yet still mystery over the inclusion of fibre optic cables in the plan - that make it clear you must refuse permission.

When sitting at your desk as you come to make the decision, put Aquind’s bold claims on one side of the scales.

Then think of the people of Portsmouth and the communities up to Lovedean where the cables will end.

Add to this the wider national security concern in Britain’s electricity supply effectively being at risk of political weaponisation by France, and you can reach only one conclusion. Say no.

Yours,

The News