Craig Withey our Eastney and Craneswater brings us all up to speed on Aquind, what it is and what need to do to stop it.
The Aquind interconnector is a government project looking to link the national power grids of the UK and France via an under sea cable laid across the English Channel. As the project is seen as NSIP (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project) we are being told this is a done deal coming down from central government.
We at Portsmouth Labour believe this is not yet a done deal and we should be doing everything we can to oppose this project. We do not want to have its misery forced on our city, its residents, our beautiful landscape or our wildlife that make up the very fabric of what our city is.
The cable is due to make landfall in Eastney and Craneswater, travelling through Milton, up Eastern road, across Farlington Marshes and on to the sub station at Lovedean. The disruption to the city will be enormous. Swathes of land and roads in Eastney & Craneswater are to be dug up and disrupted, Milton allotments are to be bulldozed with no say for the owners, Eastern road will be dug up and huge areas of green space destroyed alongside the mud flats and marshes in the north of the City. Huge large areas of natural habitat will be disturbed and generations of wildlife, including rare bird species, marine life and other mammals lost.
Aquind’s figures show that it may be possible to increase the capacity of the national grid by 3% and the French national grid by 5%. No statements have been made on where is energy is coming from. If it is from fossil fuel sources then why? In an age where we should be looking to switch to fully renewable sources of energy is this necessary? Should a project on this scale even be considered when the money could be better spent on renewables? None of Aquind’s data points towards a benefit to the people of Portsmouth for this project. Only misery and disruption.
The Times recently found that Aquind’s Russian owners, and friends of Boris Johnson, recently donated £1.3 million to the Tory party to assist in campaigns such as Johnson’s leadership election. Tory MP David Morris was forced to apologise in the House of Commons for breaking rules on lobbying after receiving £10,000 from Aquind after was found to be trying to persuade ministers to relax the rules on compulsory acquisition. Latest reports show that Aquind has also made donations to the constituency parties of 5 cabinet members including Rishi Sunak and Alok Sharma. Sharma, the business secretary, publicly stated that he can no longer take part in negotiations due to the donation. To not have the business secretary involved in these matters after receiving money should be deeply concerning to the whole country. This money changing hands and the Tories close friendship with Aquind’s Russian owners is how this is being allowed to happen to Portsmouth. The Tories have sold this great city out to their friends. We are saying no.
The Liberal Democrat council are not doing anywhere near enough to oppose this. Merely lobbying Aquind on the route rather than opposing. They are being pushed around by big money and central government. The council are currently concerning themselves more with compulsory purchasing powers and what can be done to appease Aquind than to stop them.
There is still time to stop this happening. There are too many questions around the real merits of the proposals and a complete lack of critical evaluation.
Residents still have to time to voice their objections but it needs to happen now. Objections can still be made up until midnight on the 5th October. Please email and voice concerns to:
The final planning hearing is due in December. We must continue to do all we can in Portsmouth to stop Aquind and the Tories tearing our city apart for their own financial gain.