This week’s big news is that 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. Portsmouth News then covered the story (see the print version below).
Labour’s Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, said he welcomes the MoD’s intervention but said it’s “long overdue” and leaves Portsmouth residents with further uncertainty. “That’s why I have sought urgent answers from the Ministry of Defence and Department on just how much longer Portsmouth people will be left without clarity,” he said. “The Government came to the correct decision almost two years ago. The facts have not changed and our concerns have only grown. I will continue doing all I can to call on Ministers to deliver the right decision as soon as possible.”
The decision has prompted the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero to publish a letter to all interested parties related to the Planning Inspectorate decision on the planning approval. The letter covers the Secretary of State’s need to take more time in making the decision, the key section is:
“The Secretary of State considers that it would not be appropriate to take a decision on the application until the MOD has considered its position and submitted its representations and this Department has had time to consider the information presented. At present, it is also not appropriate to estimate how much more time is required, as this will depend on the nature and content of the representations put forward by MOD.”
As you may be aware, the original refusal of planning consent was January 2022 and Aquind’s High Court Order and the subsequent move to the Secretary of State to make the final decision was January 2023, and the Let’s Stop Aquind campaign goes back over five years (as does the sister campaign in France), so right now we patiently await further developments. You can read the full letter HERE.