The leaks emerging from the Pandora papers confirm some of the concerns that we’ve had about the AQUIND interconnector all along.
Our campaign to stop Aquind was founded on the back of their poor community consultation and an unfeasible route that would risk environmental damage and cause disruption to our city, wildlife and businesses. On top of this, the history of political donations to Tory Government ministers and the company’s opaque structure have eroded community trust in Aquind and the planning process. AQUIND have insisted that their project required national infrastructure status taking the decision- making out of the hands of locally elected authorities.
We demand the Tory government stops delaying a decision on Aquind and in 17 days’ time, does the right thing and stops Aquind once and for all.
In a response to yesterday’s leaks, Aquind’s statement to The Guardian1 claimed merits of the project that we refute:
“The environment has been at the heart of the project development and has been fully considered during the planning process.”
Here are just some of the risks identified during the planning process and dismissed as inconsequential or minimal by Aquind: contamination from old landfill during digging and bentonite escape or loss when drilling through sensitive wildlife habitats; noise disturbance to protected sea and water birds; illegal limits of air pollution from construction vehicles and re-directed traffic. The late inclusion of affected allotment holders to the consultation illustrates how far the environment was from ‘the heart’ of this project.
“Aquind Interconnector will help reduce the impact of volatile gas and coal prices, which are the reasons behind growing electricity bills this autumn and winter. It will help reduce UK energy prices with estimated savings for consumers of several billion pounds over the first 25 years of the project’s operation.”
Aquind may not be operational until 2028 by which time the current energy scenario that they quote will have changed. Good Energy predicts 15GW interconnector capacity will be needed by 2050.2 By 2025, UK will have 13 interconnectors supplying 16GW3 to manage fluctuations in supply and may well be a net exporter of energy. This scenario does not include Aquind and renders it redundant.
There is little evidence that interconnectors bring down energy prices. Without a EU energy trade deal, we cannot fully benefit from the cross-nation connectivity that helps to weather volatility and reduce prices. This interconnector is also unregulated, will householders really benefit?