Aquind protesters walk route of proposal so 'unpopular' it 'unites people of all political views for first time in years'
A PROPOSAL to build a £1.2bn electricity cable from France is so ‘unpopular’ it has united people of all ends of the political spectrum for the first time in years.
That was the message from those who gathered on Sunday morning to walk the controversial 12-mile route from Portsmouth to Lovedean.
Holding aloft banners and chanting passionately in opposition of the scheme, over 100 campaigners made their feelings loud and clear - and received support from passing motorists who honked their car horns in approval.
The walk started at Fort Cumberland car park where the leader of Portsmouth City Council, councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, was joined by Conservative MP of Portsmouth North Penny Mordaunt and MP Stephen Morgan of Portsmouth South.
The Labour MP has launched a petition to stop the project alongside the Let’s Stop Aquind campaign.
Viola Langley, joint organiser of the group, said: ‘Our city should not be ripped apart to accommodate this highly damaging project.
‘Our energy supply, our cyber security, our environment and our health are threatened.
‘We say no to this cronyism, no to private profit, no to threat to our environment, no to threat to our health.
‘We don’t need this. It would be a nightmare for lots of reasons. The roads are too narrow.
‘The French are against it too.’
Fellow co-organiser Paula Savage added: ‘The local authority are being told they do not have a say in the matter but this is our city, our air, so we need to be heard.
‘We walked along the Eastern Road. If it went ahead it would cause huge disruption and pollution.
‘It was a really good turnout on the walk with lots of people of all ages and different political views.’
Liberal Democrat city councillor Huge Mason joined those on the walk. He said: ‘The project is so unpopular that it has united Portsmouth City Council on an issue for the first time in the 17 years I have been a councillor.
‘We have solar power, wind farms and have renewable energy so do we really need this? It’s a worrying route.
‘There’s nothing more we can do as local planners to stop it as in the hands of national planners now.’
Mr Morgan said: ‘Aquind would be a disaster for Portsmouth. It would create untold disruption to our city’s roads and natural environment, while bringing no clear benefits.
‘Portsmouth residents’ voices deserve to be heard. That’s why I have launched my petition, urging it to call on the ministers to reject these damaging proposals.
‘I urge all Portsmouth people, to sign my petition to make sure ministers hear their concerns directly. We can, and we will, stop Aquind.’
Ms Mordaunt said the project would ‘damage Portsmouth's economy and environment’.
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Aquind say it would supply cheaper and greener electricity.
Supporters have urged people to get behind the campaign.
Go to Mr Morgan’s website to receive a form to sign the petition at www.stephenmorgan.org.uk