‘It is not your city to destroy’: Let’s Stop Aquind campaigners pen open letter calling on company to withdraw application for project before city is ‘engulfed in chaos’

CAMPAIGNERS protesting a controversial electrical cable scheme have penned an open letter calling for an end to Aquind interconnector plans.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 4:45 pm
Updated Friday, 14th January 2022, 11:09 am

While business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is expected to finally announce his decision on the future of the project on January 21, campaign group Let’s Stop Aquind is urging the company to withdraw its application for a Development Consent Order now.

Both of Portsmouth’s MPs, as well as city councillors led by leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson, have expressed their opposition to the plans, which would see high voltage electrical cables laid and a vast capacity fibre-optic network built to connect the nuclear power stations of Northern France with Lovedean.

Critics of the Aquind project say that it is a threat to the wildlife, environment, residents, and businesses of Portsmouth.

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Viola Langley and Paula Ann Savage. Picture: Keith Woodland (021021-187)

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The letter, issued today, was penned by Viola Langley and Paula Savage, co-founders of Let’s Stop Aquind.

It directly addresses the owners and directors of Aquind Limited on behalf of ‘the people of Portsmouth’.

The letter says that ‘the environmental damage, years of pollution, traffic chaos and loss of precious green spaces and public amenities that would be caused by the interconnector building work simply cannot be justified’, pointing out that Portsmouth ‘is not your city to destroy’.

A 'Let's Stop Aquind' walking protest. Picture: Sam Stephenson

Arguing that the city is ‘united and implacable’ in its opposition to the plans, the letter asks the company to ‘put an end to this disastrous project once and for all, before Portsmouth is engulfed in chaos and our environment irreparably harmed.’

Calling the interconnector project ‘unnecessary’, the letter suggests it would be in Aquind’s ‘best interests to withdraw now’ in order to help salvage ‘the reputation of your business, which has suffered from accusations of cash for influence, targeted donations, cronyism and the revelations in the Pandora Papers of the source of Mr Fedotov’s offshore funds’.

It went on to say ‘control of significant energy and communications infrastructure assets should not be in the hands of a private business, deep in debt, with no experience of large-scale engineering projects, beholden to unknown investors hidden by offshore trusts and at the mercy of a foreign power.’

Stephen Morgan MP speaking at a 'Let's Stop Aquind' walking protest. Picture: Sam Stephenson

The letter’s signatories include Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson and MP Stephen Morgan, as well as local environment groups Friends of the Earth Portsmouth, Green Drinks Portsmouth, Greenpeace Portsmouth, Keep Milton Green, Let Pompey Breathe, Milton Neighbourhood Planning Forum, and Zero Waste Portsmouth.

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