The News wins national award for Stop Aquind campaign in Portsmouth as judges praise 'courage and determination'

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The courage and determination of The News and its journalists has been praised as we picked up a national award for our Stop Aquind campaign.

In a night of celebration in London, The News won regional campaign of the year at the Society of Editors' Media Freedom Awards.

Our Stop Aquind campaign was not just a battle we joined with our community to stop underground power cables from France tearing up parts of the city, it was a fight to make sure the story was told. On a number of occasions we approached the company for comment only to receive legal letters from international reputation and privacy firm Schillings.

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The judges said the campaign 'showed the courage and determination of its journalists to report on matters of significant public interest when others may have walked away.' They added: 'It also demonstrated sustained commitment to reporting to its audience despite an unprecedented legal challenge.'

Editor Mark Waldron said: ‘I was delighted and honoured to pick up this prestigious award with my assistant editor Tom Morton on behalf of everyone at The News. We pride ourselves in supporting our communities in whatever way we can – what better way to demonstrate that than by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them on a campaign of such incredible importance to Portsmouth. And we never wavered in our commitment to tell this story despite the legal threats fired our way.

‘This award is a fantastic recognition for the hard work put in by the team. But it is also a win for all the campaigners and politicians who united in one voice. Now we return to the bigger battle – as Aquind go to the courts to challenge the way the decision to turn down their plans was made. We stopped Aquind before – we will fight to stop them again.’

Aquind said its £1.2bn link between the British and French power grids would improve energy supply and reduce carbon emissions but its detractors said it would cause 'havoc' across the city and put national security at risk. Then business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng threw out the plan in January. A judicial review will be held in the High Court in London on November 22 and 23 where the company’s lawyers will argue Mr Kwarteng did not correctly consider its application.

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