Stop AQUIND

THE FIGHT TO STOP AQUIND CONTINUES

Very rarely, if ever, does an issue unite people of all political persuasions, local and national politicians, and residents of all nationalities, religious beliefs, and social standings.

Aquind Interconnector is such an issue. Objections to it bound a passionate group of people together, committed to defending their city and its environs against the destructive unnecessary proposal. MPs and Councillors were unanimous in their criticism. Residents along the route are united.

BREAKING NEWS

LET’S STOP AQUIND’S RESPONSE TO THE INITIAL PROJECT ASSESSMENT BY OFGEM OF THE THIRD CAP AND FLOOR WINDOW FOR ELECTRICITY INTERCONNECTORS

Portsmouth, Hampshire – 19th April 2024

Let’s Stop Aquind (LSA), the Portsmouth based local grassroots movement, considers in this document Ofgem’s Initial Project Assessment of the third cap and floor window for electricity interconnectors1 and CRE ‘s public consultation document on the opportunity for new electricity interconnection capacity between France and the United Kingdom, no 2024-012.
Our response has the following structure:

1. Ofgem’s project assessment and relevant concerns regarding the Aquind Interconnector
2. CRE’s consultation document and relevant concerns regarding the Aquind Interconnector
3. Summary of Ofgem’s and CRE’s relevant concerns regarding the Aquind Interconnector
4. Let’s Stop Aquind’s additional information and unresolved issues regarding the Aquind Interconnector – additional information and unresolved issues
5. Summary

You can read this highly detailed response and packed with references HERE.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT AQUIND’S FIBRE-OPTIC COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK

Portsmouth, Hampshire – 21st February 2024

By looking at sources in the public domain, we have pieced together the story of the high capacity fibre-optic communications network that Aquind, despite its recent denials, is still planning to install alongside the HVDC interconnector cables from France.

While Aquind has removed the wording relating to the commercial use of the surplus capacity of these fibre-optic cables in its plan, the vast majority of the hardware which would be required (the high-capacity fibre-optic cables themselves, the Optical Relay Stations at Fort Cumberland and the telecoms equipment at the termination station at Lovedean) all still remain in its application to be activated at a later date. Both Portsmouth and Winchester City Council’s have flagged this to the SofS on numerous occasions, with PCC even referring to the commercial use of the fibre-optic cables as the “tail that wags the dog” in Aquind’s plans. Put simply, Aquind appears to be using the planning process for one project (an interconnector) to subvert the planning process for another (a commercial data network) right under our noses – and blatantly denying it.

Aquind has publically stated that it would not continue with the project while it excludes the commercial use of the communications hardware, saying in June 2023 that it “is not amenable to provisions being included in the DCO which prevent any future use of the fibre optic cables to be installed for commercial telecommunications where otherwise authorised for that use in the future“. So will the entire network will be laid regardless of the Secretary of State’s wishes? Does this not completely contradict Aquind’s statements (for example on BBC South Today) that the network had been taken out, when it is very much still in, the plans?

Aquind’s data network would be on a huge scale, with a greater capacity in comparison even to the last two dedicated fibre-optic communications networks laid under the Channel (by Crosslake and Colt Telecom). We can only speculate as to the nature of the MoD’s recent intervention into the planning process for the interconnector, but could the fact that Aquind’s network is planned to be laid at the home of the Royal Navy and near communications installations such as on Portsdown Hill be a factor? Or is the Soviet origin of Aquind’s owners Mr Temerko and Mr Fedotov relevant? They both now hold British citizenship, but do they have our best interests at heart?

You can read our letter to the Planning Inspectorate for the attention of Clare Coutinho, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero which is highly detailed and packed with references HERE.

MINISTRY OF DEFENCE INTERVENTION DELAYS AQUIND INTERCONNECTOR DECISION

Portsmouth, Hampshire – 3rd February 2024

The Ministry of Defence has intervened in the Government’s long awaited Aquind Interconnector decision. The BBC news website had the story but it doesn’t say exactly what the MoD’s concerns were in regards to the project. There is naturally speculation regarding the reasons behind this move, it could be security concerns around the data cable, maybe the upcoming election… nobody is saying but it seems unlikely it is related to the ground contamination in Eastney which we covered in our deep dive video (which you can watch HERE). Right now this “interference”, as Aquind frame it, brings with it cautious optimism.

Read our full break down of this news HERE.

OPEN LETTER TO CLAIRE COUTINHO, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR ENERGY SECURITY AND NET ZERO, FROM LET’S STOP AQUIND

Portsmouth, Hampshire – 9th November 2023

Dear Ms Coutinho,
 
Welcome back to your role as Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero. As you will be aware, one of the items in your in-tray is the re-determination of the application by Aquind Limited for development consent for the proposed Aquind interconnector.
 
The original application was received by the Planning Inspectorate on 14 November 2019 when Andrea Leadsom was SofS BEIS, who was quickly followed by Alok Sharma, who had to recuse himself from the Aquind interconnector decision in favour of Kwasi Kwarteng, who was followed (briefly) by Jacob Rees-Mogg and finally Grant Shapps.
 
With the exception of Mr Kwarteng, who took the decision not to allow the DCO application, all of your predecessors lasted only months in the role and may not have had time to study the details of the case.
Given that no less than six Secretaries of State have presided over this application, is it not astonishing that nearly 4 years later, the basic facts have still not been established?
 

The full response breaking down every issue in the interview can be downloaded and read HERE (PDF).

 

Pandora's Box - The Aquind Interconnector and Contaminated Land

This video is a deep dive in to the issues surrounding the proposed Aquind Interconnector project and the legacy of contaminated land in Portsmouth. The proposed route for deep trench digging will be past or through some locations that are well documented to contain heavy metals, asbestos and more contaminants.

A full list of sources and references are located at the end of the film. At time of publishing, all effort was made to use the most up to date and accurate public information in the writing and creation of this video, and to reference all copyrighted material used/shown as fair dealing for criticism, review or quotation and for the purpose of reporting current events.

What Is the Problem?

Aquind’s proposal is to install cables, designed to carry 2 million watts of electricity, under Eastney beach and to dig trenches and drill tunnels from the landing-place, South to North, to connect the cables to The National Grid at Lovedean. Electricity generated in Europe could flow to the UK and vice versa. The construction of this project would mean many months of disruption and untold damage to the fabric of the city and along the route. Toxic material long-buried safely in landfill sites might be unearthed, further harming the environment in a city already suffering severe congestion.

Traffic chaos, causing much pollution, would negatively affect the people who live in, and those who would want to visit, Portsmouth. Let us not forget Portsmouth is the 2nd most densely populated city outside London.

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 the local rejection, Aquind took their case to the Government Department dealing with energy supply (BEIS). They wanted the project to be given NSIP(Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project) status and then to apply for a DCO( Development Consent Order) thus removing all decision-making from local to national level.

The then Secretary of State for the Department directed that their request be granted. This was no surprise as he had previously been publicly very supportive of the scheme. This direction effectively took control and any decisions out of the hands of local interests. It allowed the developer to push on with the proposal, following legislation embodied in the Planning Act of 2008. Examination of their application by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) took place this year, its Recommendation went to BEIS in early June and in September a decision will be announced by the current SoS (Secretary of State) at BEIS Kwasi Kwarteng.

Read More About The Issues

You can read more here about the issues around the Aquind Interconnector project:

Latest News

Below are some of our latest news articles, you can read more news HERE.

Press Release: Let’s Stop Aquind’s Response To The Initial Project Assessment By Ofgem Of The Third Cap And Floor Window For Electricity Interconnectors

Portsmouth, Hampshire – 19th April 2024 Let’s Stop Aquind (LSA), the Portsmouth based local grassroots movement, considers in this document Ofgem’s Initial Project Assessment of the third cap and floor window for electricity interconnectors1 and CRE ‘s public consultation document on the opportunity for new electricity interconnection capacity between France and the United Kingdom, no …

Questions Over Aquind in the National Press

Over the last week or so there has been a number of new newspaper (The I and The Times) articles about the issues around the Aquind Interconnector project, you can read them below.

Unanswered Questions About Aquind’s Fibre-optic Communications Network

By looking at sources in the public domain, we have pieced together the story of the high capacity fibre-optic communications network that Aquind, despite its recent denials, is still planning to install alongside the HVDC interconnector cables from France. While Aquind has removed the wording relating to the commercial use of the surplus capacity of these fibre-optic …

Press Releases from Stop Aquind

Press Release: Let’s Stop Aquind’s Response To The Initial Project Assessment By Ofgem Of The Third Cap And Floor Window For Electricity Interconnectors

Portsmouth, Hampshire – 19th April 2024 Let’s Stop Aquind (LSA), the Portsmouth based local grassroots movement, considers in this document Ofgem’s Initial Project Assessment of the third cap and floor window for electricity interconnectors1 and CRE ‘s public consultation document on the opportunity for new electricity interconnection capacity between France and the United Kingdom, no …

Press Release: Let’s Stop Aquind Releases Open Letter to Rishi Sunak, Jeremy Hunt and Grant Shapps: “IT’S TIME TO STOP AQUIND”

Portsmouth, Hampshire – Wednesday 1 March 2023 Community pressure group Let’s Stop Aquind has revitalised its long-running campaign against the Aquind Interconnector in response to the recent high court judgement in favour of Aquind Limited, which quashed the government’s original decision not to allow the project. As all parties wait for Secretary of State for …

Press Release: Let’s Stop Aquind Responds To The Judicial Review Judgement Announcement – This Project Must Be Stopped Once And For All

Portsmouth, Hampshire – 25th January 2023 While we are bitterly disappointed that the judgement has been made in favour of Aquind Limited, we will be redoubling our opposition to this project, which now enters a new phase. As a grassroots community group, Let’s Stop Aquind remains committed to campaigning to protect the environment of Portsmouth, …

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