Let's Stop Aquind campaigners meet with shadow energy minister to share concerns over £1.2bn electrical cable scheme

DETERMINED campaigners protesting against a controversial £1.2bn project to bring electrical cables through Portsmouth met with a top Labour MP to further their cause.

Members of the tireless Let’s Stop Aquind group were joined by shadow energy minister Alan Whitehead on Saturday, along with Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan, to share their concerns.

Prior to a discussion with the activists, Mr Whitehead toured the Milton allotments, which could be subject to horizontal drilling and wider disruption if the interconnector cable is given the go ahead by government.

Aquind has previously said the horizontal drilling will minimise any disruption.

Shadow energy minister Alan Whitehead, Paula-Ann Savage, Stephen Morgan MP. Picture: Keith Woodland (041221-6)

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Mr Whitehead said: ‘It’s been really useful to meet with Stephen and local campaigners in Portsmouth today to better understand the scale of the impact Aquind will have locally, and the strength of the city’s united opposition to this project.’

The official deadline for the business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to make a decision is January 21, after an initial deadline in October was pushed back.

Mr Morgan said: ‘As I’ve said since this project was first proposed, Aquind offers no clear benefits to our city, but will bring years of untold disruption and damage to our precious natural environment.

Jane Shepherd, Stephen Morgan MP, Paula-Ann Savage, shadow energy minister Alan Whitehead, Viola Langley. Picture: Keith Woodland (041221-5)

‘I’m really pleased to have widespread support from frontbench colleagues on this and was delighted to welcome the shadow energy minister to Portsmouth today, so he could hear first-hand the scale of the impact this disastrous project would have on our city’s open and green spaces.

‘As we approach next month’s deadline, I’ll continue to work with frontbench colleagues to keep the pressure up and ensure ministers make the right decision by finally stopping Aquind.’

If the scheme is approved by government, it planned the interconnector would bring electricity from France through Eastney, Milton, Langstone Harbour and Farlington Playing Fields on its way to Lovedean. Bransbury Park, the Milton Allotments and Eastern Road are all on the route.

Co-chair of the Let’s Stop Aquind campaign, Paula Ann-Savage, added: ‘To allow any disruption of any kind to Portsmouth's unique wildlife and established areas of biodiversity, will only prove that Kwasi Kwarteng MP doesn't understand the importance of our ecosystems and why we should be protecting them.’

An Aquind spokesman previously said the scheme has been ‘carefully designed’ to minimise damage to the environment and communities and it would create 500 jobs in the UK.

He added the interconnector will transmit up to five per cent of Britain’s electricity, and help in the south east of England where demand is higher than generation. It will save people money on bills, and cut carbon emissions, he said.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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