Protest group gathers signatures against Aquind cable plan that will 'destroy' Portsmouth

TENACIOUS protesters bolstered their cause against a controversial plan to lay electrical cables across Portsmouth by gathering more signatures for a parliamentary petition.

By Fiona Callingham
Saturday, 4th September 2021, 12:47 pm

Members of the 3,000-strong Let’s Stop Aquind group met in Palmerston Road on today to encourage others to sign their names against the £1.2bn Aquind scheme.

It is proposed large cables from France will be laid through Portsmouth starting at Eastney, and affecting Bransbury Park, the Milton Allotments, Eastern Road and Farlington Playing Fields on its way to a converter at Lovedean.

So far the petition – which will be presented by Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan to parliament next week for debate – has amassed more than 6,000 signatures.

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The Let's Stop Aquind group gathering signatures for their petition in Palmerston Road today Left to right: Hazel Lyness, Viola Langley and Eve Mellor

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Group member Hazel Lyness, 60, from Copnor said: ‘We just want to stop this cable, it’s absolutely the wrong place for it to go – it will destroy our city.

‘I live along Eastern Road and I just know it’s going to create gridlock in an already bad area.’

And 15-year-old Eve Mellor, from Southsea, agreed. ‘There aren’t many green spaces in Portsmouth so it’s very important we keep them safe – for the environment and people’s mental health,’ she said.

As reported, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has asked the company why it needs certain compulsory purchase orders if a controversial telecommunications aspect of the project is ditched – pushing back a final decision until October 21.

Let’s Stop Aquind founder Viola Langley, 58, from Milton said: ‘We say this should not happen in this area – the most densely populated city outside London.

‘Originally the route was proposed from Le Havre in France, which is a direct route to Portsmouth. But now they’re looking at it coming from a town called Dieppe, which is east. The closest place for it to come in England would be Ninfield which is a much smaller town with a substation only four miles in shore. That would make a lot more sense. There’s no reason for it to come to Portsmouth.’

MP Mr Morgan added: ‘My public petition over the summer has had a tremendous response. My thanks to the campaigners who have been out and about with me across our city to encourage people to show their support and all those who have signed it in a local shop, at one of our street stalls or shared it with friends and neighbours.

‘As parliament returns next week I’ll be presenting the petition. Portsmouth people want Aquind stopped. The government must now do so.’

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