Portsmouth residents urged to have say on 'unnecessary' Aquind electricity scheme

MEMBERS of the public are being urged to have their say on an 'unnecessary' scheme that could see roads and parks in Portsmouth dug up to make way for electricity cables.

By Fiona Callingham
Friday, 3rd January 2020, 5:28 pm

After controversial proposals for the Aquind interconnector were accepted for examination by a government planning inspector late last year the scheme is now open for comments.

If approved two cables bringing electricity from France would run from Eastney, to Milton, along Eastern Road, under Langstone Harbour and through Farlington Playing Fields on its way to Lovedean.

But Portsmouth councillors have been strongly opposed to the scheme since it was first announced.

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An artist's impression of the Aquind interconnector

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Here's the proposed route of the cables through Portsmouth for the Aquind Interc...

Baffins ward representative Councillor Darren Sanders said: 'I think it is absolutely important that as many residents as possible in the city respond to this consultation.

'And I hope as many of those people as possible show they are opposed to this unnecessary scheme.

'The people of Portsmouth will not benefit from the electricity cables. There needs to be a benefit to them before you start digging the city up.

'I'm concerned a lot of Eastern Road will be dug up, and concerned we will lose the Farlington Playing Fields for months.

'People in my ward are also effectively going to lose the number 13 and 14 bus services for a while.'

The decision is out of Portsmouth City Council's hands, as the size of the project meant a final ruling would be made by central government.

Planning documents are now available to be seen by the public on the Aquind website as well as for free at a number of local libraries including Portsmouth Central Library, North End Library and Cosham Library until February 19.

A spokesman for Aquind said: 'Having been accepted for examination by the planning inspectorate, we are required, as part of the planning process, to make the application documents for Aquind interconnector available to view locally.

'Aquind interconnector will make a significant contribution to improving the security of Great Britain’s electricity supply, improve energy affordability by increasing competition and efficiency in the market and contribute to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.'

Members of the public and other bodies can register as an interested party with the planning inspectorate until February 19, 2020 at infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk.

A final decision on the Aquind interconnector from the secretary of state is expected in early 2021.