Aquind: Portsmouth MPs and grassroots campaigners urge business secretary to refuse interconnector

AQUIND must not be allowed to progress. That is the view of city MPs and a grassroots campaign group.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 4:55 am
Penny Mordaunt MP. Picture: Sam Stephenson

Opposition against the interconnector is united and fierce in Portsmouth.

With 20 days left until business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s deadline to make a decision on the plan, here is what the current opposition say to Mr Kwarteng.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt

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Viola Langley

‘This project is a disaster for our city, for our national resilience and for our national security.

‘It has not been driven by our energy needs and doesn’t even feature in our energy plans for the future.

‘We should not be making ourselves reliant on foreign energy supplies which the French have stated they will use as a political weapon in future negotiations.

‘And we should not be giving the green light to a project which is against national security as this one so evidently is.

Stephen Morgan MP. Picture: Sam Stephenson

‘Do the right thing and end this project.’

Viola Langley, from Let’s Stop Aquind

‘Let’s Stop Aquind, our grassroots community group, was formed to stop the Aquind interconnector.

‘Local authorities have been ignored, MPs’ objections have been ignored and residents’ voices have been ignored.

‘Our aim is to raise awareness about the damage and destruction this project would have for the city of Portsmouth and beyond.

‘We are not against interconnectors per se but this interconnector is a nonsense.

‘The chosen route is damaging to our environment, habitats, wildlife and residents.

‘Our city is already at breaking point. It is densely populated, has high levels of pollution and is over congested.

‘Can we justify so much damage for the personal gain of the owners and directors of Aquind, a private limited company?

‘Can we expect an unbiased fair decision from the politicians who will make the decision?

‘Has not their political party already been tainted by accepting over £1m in donations from the company and its owners?’

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan

‘The people of Portsmouth are united. We are clear that the Aquind interconnector project must be stopped.

‘Aquind is a project that’s mired in Tory cronyism, offering nothing for our city, but bringing with it untold disruption to our daily lives and damaging our precious natural environment.

‘That’s why I have written a string of letters to ministers, submitted a range of parliamentary questions, held a parliamentary debate on the issue and submitted my 6,200 signature public petition to parliament, voicing local people’s calls for Aquind to be scrapped.

‘It’s high time this Conservative government finally listened to concerns outlined in my petition and this letter, provide certainty to the thousands of city residents whose daily lives will be affected by this disastrous project and Stop Aquind.’

Aquind’s previous responses

The company has repeatedly refused to put up a director for interview.

But in previous statements Aquind said it had gone to ‘considerable lengths to minimise impacts of the project’.

It complies with laws in the UK, France and the European Union, a spokesman said. The project can transmit five per cent of Britain’s electricity need, it has said.

He added ‘ongoing engagement’ with government departments has been necessary as it is a major infrastructure project.

It will 'keep the lights on for 5m British households, help hit net-zero targets and reduce electricity prices saving consumers between £2bn and £3.8bn, the company said.