Story from the Portsmouth News, October 10th 2020
More than 150 people have lined the shoreline in Portsmouth to show plans for a massive electricity infrastructure project in the area will be met with stiff resistance.
Aquind aims that undersea cables will run ashore in Eastney as part of a £1.2bn project connecting the electricity grids of France and England. Fears that the project will damage wildlife habitats and hinder access to allotments led to more than 150 people showing their opposition with a static and socially distanced protest along the shoreline today.
According to one of the protest’s organisers, Linda Spence, residents were not properly consulted on the plans, which remain unclear.
The Eastney resident, who helped set up the Facebook page Let’s Stop Aquind, has warned that residents who could become ‘militant’ if their concerns are not addressed. She said: ‘I don’t know if I will have an allotment after April.
‘I would be devastated if I lost it.
‘Some people have talked about occupying the site. I’m not saying the whole group would do that, but I would be willing to do that.’
An aerial drone shot of protestors who are angry about the Aquind interconnector plan
A drone flew over the protest to help demonstrate the size of the resistance to the plans, with Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan – who attended the event – saying it was ‘humbling’ to see so many Portsmouth residents demonstrating their opposition.
He said: ‘Portsmouth’s green and open spaces are precious.
‘The developer’s plans do nothing to benefit our city, only cause disruption to our environment and to our daily lives.
‘Together we can, and we will, stop this.’
It comes as The News has revealed that Portsmouth City Council has earmarked £250,000 to fight the scheme.
Councillor Matthew Winnington, who represents the Eastney & Craneswater ward, is concerned that building work for the scheme will close Fort Cumberland Road, causing ‘huge disruption’ for residents.
Cllr Winnington said: ‘It’s a mess of a scheme, and it seems to have been done with next to no consultation.
‘It makes no sense for the cables to come ashore here – it’s being done purely for convenience for a massive company.’ Conservatives from Portsmouth City Council were also at the protest. The Planning Inspectorate is due to hold a public hearing on the project in December.