Campaigners say the decision by business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to refuse to grant Aquind the development consent order is the one that they ‘have campaigned so hard for’ and represents ‘an amazing victory’ for the city.
Viola Langley and Paula Savage, Stop Aquind campaign co-leads, said: ‘We are all delighted at this decision and so are communities along the route.
‘We have campaigned tirelessly for the last 18 months to give ordinary people a voice in what has been a difficult planning process.
‘So many of the problems we highlighted were not addressed and people felt strongly that they had not been listened to.’
The Aquind plans would have seen infrastructure work across Eastney.
Outraged residents concerned about the environment impact formed the Stop Aquind campaign to lobby against the proposals, protect green spaces and insist on a voice in the planning process.
City MPs and councillors added their voices to the call to Stop Aquind but, the co-leads said: ‘We are grateful for all their support but the biggest round of applause must go to the ordinary people of Portsmouth and communities along the proposed route of the interconnector who went out of their way to have their voices heard.’
Activists are promising to carry on campaigning for ‘improved political accountability’ and to prevent other communities facing similar situations.
Viola and Paula continued: ‘Our voice has been loud and insistent throughout. We have fought back time and time again to stop our democratic rights from being eroded.
‘Communities cannot be cut off from decision-making by the cosy relationships business and ministers create with their political donations, revolving doors and contracts for mates.
‘We are certain that the business secretary’s decision is one that he will uphold.
‘The risks Aquind poses to wildlife habitats, residents’ health and wellbeing, to businesses and to national security are too great.
‘However, we have been shocked and angry that it has fallen on ordinary citizens in Portsmouth to call out a major national security risk and be forced to hold ministers to account for breaching standards in public life.’