Portsmouth campaign Stop Aquind at 'critical moment' with submission of 6,200 signature petition to business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng

A CAMPAIGN group and a city MP have submitted a 6,200 signature petition calling for the business secretary to scrap the controversial Aquind interconnector works in Eastney.

By Richard Lemmer
Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 4:55 am

The £1.2bn infrastructure plan would see undersea energy cables from France come ashore in the city.

Long-standing backlash from residents, spearheaded by the Stop Aquind group, against the proposal has now led to a huge petition being submitted to business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

City activists met Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan outside the House of Commons ahead of the petition’s submission on Tuesday morning.

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Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan and city activists before handing in the 6,200 signature petition to parliament. Picture: Stephen Morgan

Commenting on the latest intervention, the MP said that the interconnector would bring ‘no clear benefits’.

He said: ‘The people of Portsmouth have spoken: the Aquind Interconnector Project must be stopped.

‘I’ve been clear from the outset that this project would bring untold disruption to our daily lives and natural environment, with no clear benefits.

‘Meanwhile, the company directors’ cosy relationships with government ministers continue to raise suspicions.

‘The secretary of state needs to provide certainty to the thousands of city residents whose daily lives will be affected.

‘Over 6,200 of you have spoken. It’s time the government finally listened.’

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The co-chairs of the Stop Aquind campaign, Viola Langley and Paula Ann-Savage, called the submission of the petition ‘a critical moment’.

In a joint statement, the pair said: ‘Today was a critical moment in our campaign with Portsmouth voices being heard loud and clear In Parliament through Stephen’s petition, and we’re grateful for his support and being alongside us every step of the way.

‘It cannot be right that decisions impacting residents here in Portsmouth are made hundreds of miles away behind a desk in Whitehall.

‘It’s time the business secretary listened to our concerns, end the uncertainty and scrap Aquind.’

The business secretary has until October 21 to make a decision about the future of the proposed infrastructure project.

The original deadline was last Wednesday, but this was postponed earlier this month after Mr Kwarteng queried why an alternative plan without commercial telecoms aspects still included rights for the associated land.

The company has until Thursday, September 16, to respond.

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