Politicians from all parties to join forces to fight controversial Aquind scheme in Portsmouth

CITY politicians from all parties will stand together against ‘atrocious’ tactics used to install a controversial £1.2bn electricity line through Portsmouth.

Wednesday, 11th November 2020, 1:40 pm
Protestors against plans for Aquind to run interconnector cables through Portsmouth Pictured: Linda Spence, one of the organisers of the protest. October 10, 2020 Picture: Richard Lemmer

During a virtual full council meeting yesterday councillors agreed to form a cross-party working group to prepare for the public inquiry due to be held on the Aquind interconnector project.

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Council to spend £250,000 fighting Aquind scheme

Unlike other planning applications in the city jurisdiction on the Aquind scheme, which would bring electricity from France through Portsmouth to Lovedean, has been given to the government's planning inspectorate.

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At the meeting councillors raised concerns for the impact of the project that will last years on residents.

Tory Councillor Frank Jonas said: 'From day one they (Aquind) have been determined they will come through Portsmouth.

'They would not consider anything. I'm afraid all our hopes rely on the planning inspector. They do not care, they have not thought of any other route.'

Cllr Simon Bosher, representative for Drayton and Farlington ward, said: 'The impact on Drayton and Farlington is going to be pretty severe too. Aquind's tactics have bordered on atrocious to be quite frank.'

As previously reported £250,000 from the authority's contingency funds has been allocated for a legal battle to try to stop the scheme.

However, Progressive Portsmouth People member, Cllr Jeanette Smith, believed a cross-party group was not needed. She said: 'All parties have already stated they object to the proposals.

'Officers are really professional in this council and very skillful and they have enough in their professional lives to object without the need for a working group. This can't be a party political debate.'

But deputy leader, Cllr Steve Pitt, added: 'It's saying we will support a strong evidence-based objection. The idea of working together is to understand the matter of this so we can fully support our cause.'

It was also agreed that community campaign group Let's Stop Aquind, which has 1,400 members, would be involved in the cross party group.

Group spokeswoman Viola Langley said: 'We are aiming for tens of thousands of people to be ready to appeal the decision should it get that far and go against us.'

If approved the interconnector will 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 en route.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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