Aquind: Everything we know so far about rejection of plans for interconnector in Portsmouth - RECAP

A CROSS-Channel power cable project linked to a Conservative Party donor has been rejected by the Government.

By Matthew Mohan-Hickson, Joshua Wright, Richard Lemmer and Emily Jessica Turner
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 9:00 pm

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

The proposal was controversial, with a former energy minister having to recuse herself from the process over funding from one of the company’s owners.

Alexander Temerko, a British citizen who was born in the former Soviet Union, has donated more than £1 million to the Tories and is listed as a director of Aquind Limited.

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Stop Aquind protestors with Steve Pitt, council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Cllr Lee Hunt, cllr Simon Bosher, and cllr Rob New as they celebrate near Lock Lake, Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Aquind interconnector refusal sparks joy across Portsmouth and surrounding areas

A letter published on the Planning Inspectorate website showed Mr Kwarteng decided to “refuse development consent” having considered his obligations under the energy National Policy Statement.

Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, said: 'We did it. When we work together we can achieve anything, despite the odds against us.

'The Secretary of States judgement shows that the need for this scheme is outweighed by the harm it would do.

Let's Stop Aquind protesters, Fort Cumberland car park, Eastney. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 131021-09)

'Well done Portsmouth and all who helped us in this. Very proud of you all.'

Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP, added: 'The government have finally seen sense and stopped the disastrous Aquind project.

'This is a victory for the people of Portsmouth over years of uncertainty and Tory cronyism.

'I pay tribute to local campaigners who have helped me lead our city’s united opposition.

'Without our efforts, this would not have been possible. Together, we have stopped Aquind.'

We will bring you all the latest updates and reaction this evening in our live blog.

You can view the blog at the bottom of this article.

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Live updates and reaction as Aquind is REJECTED

Last updated: Thursday, 20 January, 2022, 20:19

  • Aquind interconnector rejected by government
  • Announcement comes after years long battle

Here’s the News comment on the Aquind decision - we hope we do not see any appeal

A 'Let's Stop Aquind' walking protest in July last year Picture: Sam Stephenson

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

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

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.

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’.

Aquind interconnector refusal sparks joy across Portsmouth and surrounding areas

THE decision to turn down a £1.2bn electricity interconnector cable – which would have seen swathes of Portsmouth dug up – has united people and political parties across the city.

Aquind have now released a statement

A spokesperson for Aquind said: ‘We are naturally disappointed that our application has been refused, despite the existing Government policy promoting development of new interconnectors and the benefits the project would bring, which are acknowledged in the decision of the Secretary of State.

‘We draw attention to the recommendation by the apolitical, independent Examining Authority that found strongly in favour of AQUIND Interconnector.

‘We disagree with the decision of the Secretary of State, and the rationale behind it. We are considering the decision, the grounds for the refusal, and a potential legal challenge (Judicial Review). We believe our application for a Development Consent Order to be accurate and robust, and it has met all the requirements. We will continue the development of AQUIND Interconnector, and we will be engaging with the relevant parties in the coming weeks.

‘With the ability to transmit up to 5% of Great Britain’s annual electricity consumption – enough to power nearly 5m British homes – AQUIND Interconnector will help reduce the impact of volatile gas and coal prices, which have caused electricity bills to increase this autumn and winter. By reducing the price of energy in the UK, AQUIND Interconnector will save individuals and families several billion pounds over the first 25 years of its operation. The interconnector will help integrate a greater proportion of non-fossil fuel energy sources and intermittent renewables into the GB energy mix, helping meet the UK’s 2050 Net Zero target by reducing CO2 emissions by 40-70 million tonnes over 25 years.’

Watch LIVE as Stop Aquind celebrate

Full letter from Kwasi Kwarteng

Here’s why it was rejected

A letter published on the Planning Inspectorate website showed Mr Kwarteng decided to “refuse development consent” having considered his obligations under the energy National Policy Statement.

Mr Kwarteng was said not to be satisfied that “appropriate alternatives to the proposed route” had been sufficiently considered.

Statement from The News editor Mark Waldron on the decision

‘Together we stopped Aquind'

Statement from Portsmouth Liberal Democrats: ‘We are delighted with the news today that the Aquind Interconnector application has finally been rejected by the Minister.

‘Portsmouth Liberal Democrats opposed the Aquind plans from the very beginning and started the campaign to stop Aquind when our city councillors pushed for Portsmouth City Council to actively oppose this project.

‘Our concerns were based on environmental issues, including the traffic chaos that would have lasted for years in the city, as well as national security grounds.

‘It was great to see a community campaign galvanise the strength of local feeling and also that the city MP’s joined in in opposing this project.

‘It’s a real example of the people of Portsmouth coming together to benefit the city and cross-party working.’

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