Aquind rejected: 'This shows people power works', says jubilant Stop Aquind campaign activists

OVERJOYED activists from the Stop Aquind campaign are saying their victory is thanks to ‘people power’ – and they could be turning their attentions to Southern Water next.

Thursday, 20th January 2022, 6:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th January 2022, 8:57 pm

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has decided to dismiss Aquind’s plans to provide a new electricity link between Portsmouth and Normandy in France.

The plans would have seen extensive infrastructure work across Eastney – drawing the outrage of residents, who formed the Stop Aquind campaign to lobby against the proposals.

After countless letters, protests, rallies, petitions and more, activists are celebrating the decision as a victory for ‘people power’.

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Stop Aquind protestors with council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Cllr Lee Hunt to celebrate near Lock Lake, Portsmouth Picture: Habibur Rahman

The campaign has drawn the committed support from a range of residents, from teenagers – like 15-year-old Eve Mellor – to pensioners as old as 80, according to campaign co-founder Viola Langley.

She said: ‘The environmental damage it would have caused – it’s unbelievable it’s got this far.

‘Without everyone doing their bit, absolutely this could have gone very differently.

‘I think for me the important message is if you believe in something, and you put in the energy, you can achieve your goals.

‘We have achieved what no one thought we would achieve.

‘Grassroots movements can be successful.’

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Co-founder Paula Ann Savage added: ‘For 17 months day in, day out, it’s been campaigning...letter drops, petitions, door knocks – and it’s all been worth it.’

The News covered the campaign group extensively throughout its fight, garnering praise from appreciative activists.

Viola said: ‘(The News) supported us all the way through – there was hardly a week when there wasn’t an article about the issue.’

Stop Aquind was formed in 2019 following a public consultation over plans to bring an undersea cable ashore in Eastney, with the strength of feeling uniting councillors and MPs from across the city - and the political spectrum - to join the fight.

Councillor Darren Sanders, who represents one of the main areas that would have been affected by Aquind’s plans, said: ‘It’s great day for the city, and it shows actually working together does work, and that’s what we should be doing coming out of the (pandemic).

Now the campaign will ask its members and supporters how best to use the people power momentum and tackle a new issue facing the city, according to Viola.

She said: ‘Stop The Sewage Southsea has attracted a lot of attention.

‘An area I have an interest in is the 17,000 homes we are supposed to build in Portsmouth.’

But before that – celebrations are in order.

She said: ‘We will have a big party to celebrate.’

The group is planning to host a celebratory event on February 6, with further details to be announced.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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