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The trouble with Aquind


Rarely, if ever, does an issue unite people of all political persuasions, local and national politicians and residents of all nationalities and religious beliefs. Aquind Inter-connector is just such an issue. Objections bind a passionate group of people together, committed to defend their city against the Aquind proposal. MPs and Councillors are unanimous in their criticism. Residents along the route are united, they are determined it must be stopped.

What’s being planned?
Aquind’s proposal is to install cables designed to carry 2 million watts of electricity, from France, under the Channel, to Eastney beach and to dig trenches and drill tunnels from south to north, to connect the cables to the National Grid at Lovedean. Electricity generated in Europe could then flow to and from the UK

So what’s wrong with Aquind proposal?
The construction of this project would mean many months of disruption and damage to the fabric of the city. Toxic material long-buried in landfill sites might be unearthed.Traffic chaos, causing increased pollution, would negatively affect the people who live in, and visit Portsmouth.The natural environment would also be adversely affected.

Why can’t the proposal be stopped by the local council?
The project is being imposed upon the city and South Hampshire by the government. It was rejected by Portsmouth City Council and the various county and parish councils along the route when first proposed by the developer – Aquind. Following local rejection Aquind took their case to the government department dealing with energy supply (BEIS). They wanted the project to be treated as a ‘nationally significant infrastructure project’ and to apply for a Development Consent Order – removing all decision-making from local level.
The then Secretary of State directed that their request be granted. This was no surprise as he had previously been publicly very supportive of the scheme, which allowed the developer to push ahead with the proposal.
Examination of the application by the Planning Inspectorate took place this year, its recommendation went to BEIS in early June and in September a decision will be announced by the current Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng.

Who’s trying to stop the project?
Let’s Stop Aquind was formed by Viola Langley and Paula Savage in September 2020 following an announcement by the leader of Portsmouth City Council that local councillors could no longer lead the planning of the project. They were obliged to follow the 2008 Planning Act legislation and act as contributors to the examination process.
Since its formation Let’s Stop Aquind has constantly raised public awareness of the project, something sadly lacking up to this point. Indeed only about 150 responses to Aquind’s public consultations were received following their expensive ‘engagement with the public process’ during 2019. Contrast this with the 3300+ members of Let’s Stop Aquind and the many thousands of engagements/objections from the public.

Key Questions
Why does the UK need this Inter-connector?
Why risk severely damaging a city and its environment for this project?
Who are Aquind and what’s the source of their funding?
Why does an Aquind owner contribute over £1million to the Conservative party?
Why has this project been taken out of local council control?
Why has France rejected this project so strongly?
Why did Aquind take French energy regulators to the European Court?
How can our vulnerable wildlife, flora and fauna survive the major construction needed if this project goes ahead?
Should residents be stressed by the disruption the development will cause, particularly post pandemic?

Posted in: Articles, Environment