Councillors oppose Aquind cable scheme from France to Portsmouth amid fears it could cause 'traffic chaos' on main city road

COUNCILLORS have slammed 'ludicrous' plans to run electricity cables from France to Portsmouth amid fears of 'traffic chaos' and danger to the city’s green spaces.

Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 6:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 10:15 pm
An artist's impression of Aquind's Interconnector, which would link to cables running through the city

Cabinet members today objected to proposals from Aquind, fearing the impact the work would have on Eastern Road and Milton Common.

Council leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: 'The proposal was to go along Eastern Road and we know this will mean digging up the road and causing traffic chaos.’

Traffic boss, Cllr Lynne Stagg, agreed. 'We already have a massive air pollution problem and if they're planning to run this under one of only three roads in and out of the city that's going to make it worse,' she said.

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'Even if you only close one lane it will cause a lot of traffic. It's absolutely ludicrous that all this would be done just to line somebody's pockets.'

Part of Aquind's proposal could allow for compulsory purchase orders giving the company the ability to buy land in Portsmouth without being contested.

Milton councillor, Darren Sanders, added: 'My main concern is the potential to use compulsory purchase orders to buy land, which as I understand it would mean Milton Common. This is green space we need.’

An Aquind spokesman said cable mapping sought to avoid footpaths, cycleways and green space ‘wherever practicable’, but admitted going through Milton Common and Bransbury Park may be necessary.

‘A final decision on the onshore underground cable route has not yet been taken, however any roads or green spaces directly affected would be restored following completion of construction,’ he said.

Aquind said it was ‘committed’ to making purchases by way of private agreements, but would seek compulsory measures if negotiations with landowners failed.

On the benefits of the scheme, it added: ‘It will make a significant contribution to improving the security and sustainability of electricity supply and will help to make energy more affordable by improving competition.’

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