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AQUIND: Sign Stephen’s petition

It is time the Conservative Minister who will be making the decision on whether or not the AQUIND development goes ahead hears the strength of feeling on this issue from our city. 

That’s why Stephen is asking you to put your name to his public petition and to encourage your friends and neighbours to do so too.

The public petition will secure a debate in Parliament and call on the Government to think again on the AQUIND project.

What you need to do:

  • Click here to download and print the petition form
  • Provide your name, address, postcode and signature
  • Pass the form to friends and neighbours
  • Send the completed form to the constituency office at 72 Albert Road, Southsea PO5 2SL or stick it through the letterbox as soon as possible.

Please note parliamentary rules sadly mean these forms cannot be filled in or sent online and must be done by hand – the good old fashioned way!

By working together we can, and we will, STOP AQUIND. 

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City MP steps up work to support local marine environment as he meets Langstone Harbour Master

Stephen Morgan MP has stepped up his sustained work to protect the local environment as he met with the Langstone Harbour Master earlier today.

The Portsmouth representative has been meeting and engaging with a range of groups and organisations to tackle sewage pollution, working with the Environment Agency and lobbying Government and Southern Water, urging the water company to set out its plans to address treatment capacity and end sewage discharges.

He most recently met with Professor Alex Ford, Director of Research Degrees at the School of Biological Sciences for the University of Portsmouth, who shared his insights of how the local marine environment can be better supported and protected.

According to a recent report from Surfers Against Sewage, only 16% of inland waterways in England meet “good ecological status” and none of them pass the chemical tests.

In the same report, Surfers Against Sewage said recent Government and water company commitments were welcome, but do not go far enough to tackle the root causes of sewage pollution.

They also warned the widespread and routine use of Combined Sewage Overflows (CSOs) and the growing popularity of water sports as summer approaches, risks deepening a public health crisis.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“Our local marine environment is one of our most prized assets, but it is under threat.

“It was really useful to speak with the Langstone Harbour Master today on range a range of challenges the harbour is facing, including public safety, future development, funding and environmental protections for the harbour.

“Billy’s team is doing tremendous work and holds important insight on the issues they need to deal with, but they need wider support.

“I will keep working hard to secure a greener future we all want for Langstone Harbour so it can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

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Langstone Harbour: Portsmouth MP tours ‘valuable’ local Marine Biology Institute at University of Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan MP has toured the University of Portsmouth’s ‘valuable’ Institute of Marine Sciences as he continues to work with others to protect the local environment and tackle sewage pollution.

The city MP met with Professor Alex Ford, Director of Research Degrees at the School of Biological Sciences for the University of Portsmouth, as he was shown around the Institute of Marine Sciences.

Professor Ford explained what the School of Biological Sciences is doing with respect to pollution, nitrates and habitat restoration in the city’s local harbours.

Mr Morgan has been liaising with the Environment Agency and lobbying Government and Southern Water, urging the water company to set out its plans to address treatment capacity and tackle excessive sewage discharges, particularly in and around Langstone Harbour.

According to a recent report from Surfers Against Sewage, only 16% of inland waterways in England meet “good ecological status” and none of them pass the chemical tests.

In the same report, Surfers Against Sewage said recent Government and water company commitments were welcome, but do not go far enough to tackle the root causes of sewage pollution.

They also warned the widespread and routine use of Combined Sewage Overflows (CSOs) and the growing popularity of water sports as summer approaches, risks deepening a public health crisis.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“It’s helpful to see the work our local university is doing to understand the impacts of pollution on our local marine environment, as well as the wider research the Marine Institute is conducting too.

“Students in Portsmouth are incredibly fortunate to have such a valuable place to learn and I am really grateful to the university and Professor Ford for what they have been able to develop here.

“Our local water environment is one of our most prized assets for us as a city, including places like Langstone Harbour, so I welcome what Alex’s incredible insight into what challenges it is facing and what more can be done to protect it.”

Professor Alex Ford, also said:

“We are delighted to be able to show Stephen Morgan MP around the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of Portsmouth where we have a number of important projects looking into the impacts of pollution entering the local harbours, and importantly, our efforts to restore key marine habitats including oyster reefs, seagrass, saltmarsh and kelp forests.

“We are fortunate to be living around internationally important coasts of wading birds and nursery sites of fish and shellfish.

“For these wildlife communities to thrive we need to better infrastructure, live more sustainably and adapt to climate change.”

In addition to lobbying Southern Water and meeting with Professor Ford, Mr Morgan has engaged with the Solent Protection Society, Hayling Sewage Watch, the Environment Agency, submitted parliamentary questions and met with local campaigners to improve the quality of local bathing waters.

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Portsmouth MP marks World Ocean Day with call to reduce sewage pollution into local waterways  

Stephen Morgan MP has marked World Ocean Day with a renewed call to reduce sewage pollution into seas and rivers.

According to a recent report from Surfers Against Sewage, only 16% of inland waterways in England meet “good ecological status” and none of them pass the chemical tests.

Meanwhile, the UK is ranked 25th out of 30 EU countries for coastal water quality.

In the same report, Surfers Against Sewage said recent Government and Water company commitments were welcome, but do not go far enough to tackle the root causes of sewage pollution.

They also warned the widespread and routine use of Combined Sewage Overflows (CSOs),  the growing popularity of water sports as summer approaches, risks deepening a public health crisis.

The Portsmouth MP recently wrote to Southern Water urging the water utility to set out its plans to address treatment capacity and tackle excessive sewage discharges, particularly in and around Langstone Harbour.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said,

“Today is a critical moment to reflect on the importance of our oceans for our wider environment, our wellbeing, but also on what more can be done to protect these places.

“We are in a climate emergency and we all need to be doing everything we can to protect our oceans and seas, including business and government.

“I’ll continue to take action in lobbying government and businesses on this, but this week’s G7 meeting in Cornwall must be utilised to tackle global causes of ocean pollution.”

In addition to lobbying Southern Water, Mr Morgan has engaged with the Solent Protection Society, Hayling Sewage Watch, the Environment Agency, submitted parliamentary questions and met with local campaigners to improve the quality of local bathing waters.

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Stephen Morgan MP reaffirms commitment to ‘LET’S STOP AQUIND’ campaign at local protest

Stephen Morgan MP has doubled down on his commitment to the ‘LET’S STOP AQUIND’ campaign after joining local activists at a ‘static protest’ against the project.

Taking place along the local shoreline earlier this afternoon, the Portsmouth MP joined protestors in forming a line around where the interconnector project will be built.

AQUIND has received a heavy amount of criticism over links with backers of the project to the Conservative party, disruption to the local environment it could cause and conflicts of interest of the recently appointed chair of the universities regulator, Lord Wharton.

Mr Wharton is a former Tory MP, current advisor to AQUIND and in his new role as chair of the Office for Students (OfS), now has powers to sanction the University of Portsmouth, which has also expressed its opposition to the project.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, commented,

“I’ve long argued that AQUIND would cause untold damage and disruption with no clear benefits to our local area. That’s why I joined local activists today in showing my opposition again to this development, which must be stopped.

“Beneath the cosy relationships Conservative Ministers have with their billionaire donors and others are choices that affect the day-to-day lives of people in Portsmouth.

“Our city deserves total transparency from this government and a real say in the decisions about the plans and I will continue to do all I can in Parliament to ensure Ministers listen to our demands and reject these proposals”.

A spokesperson for the ‘Let’s Stop Aquind’ campaign, Viola Langley, also said,

“We at Let’s Stop Aquind care deeply about our city and beyond. We call upon Her Majesty’s Government to put a stop to this destructive project.

“We residents demand our objections be heard.”

From a very early stage, Mr Morgan has taken a broad range of actions to halt plans for the largescale infrastructure project, including giving evidence to the Planning Inspectorate expressing his concerns around Aquind, tabling a number of written parliamentary questions and has written a number of letters to Ministers.

He has also vowed to take further action in Parliament in efforts to stop the project in the weeks ahead.

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Cronyism scandal: Kwasi Kwarteng agreed to lobby for AQUIND following letters from Tory donor

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng expressed strong support for the AQUIND interconnector following sustained lobbying from the company’s Director Alexander Temerko, new documents reveal.

Letters obtained through a Freedom of Information request reveal Kwasi Kwarteng stated the government’s ongoing support for the controversial project and agreed to lobby French officials to support it at their side of the channel.

A letter dated 17 March 2020, when Kwarteng was Minister of state in department he now leads, said “I do not think that there is much doubt that the UK government and Ofgem support the project.”

The letter continued: “please be assured that our support for the project remains. I will ensure that my officials continue to take suitable opportunities to communicate the benefits of the project in discussions with the French government.”

Another piece of correspondence, sent on 3 October 2019 was singed off with an affectionate handwritten note: “excellent to see you at [Conservative party] conference this year!”

The letters raise fresh concerns about the government’s handling of the contentious infrastructure project and comes amid a series of cronyism allegations against Conservative figures at the very top of government.

Kwasi Kwarteng will have the final decision about whether the project goes ahead later this year.

But it continues to face strong opposition from Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan as well as local campaign groups and has been mired in controversy.

AQUIND remains a major Conservative donor. The party has been given £1.6 million by Temerko or companies he has directed since 2012, and £55,000 by Aquind since last August.

Further conflict of interest concerns were raised earlier this year when Lord Wharton – former Conservative MP and paid adviser to AQUIND – was set to oversee the regulation of universities including Portsmouth, which will be impacted by the project.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“Against a backdrop of government cronyism, these revelations raise further questions about the nature of AQUIND’s relationship with government Ministers who are in charge of whether the project goes ahead.

“The project would cause untold damage and disruption with no clear benefits to our local area.

“Beneath the cosy relationships Ministers have with their billionaire donors are choices that affect the day-to-day lives of people as Portsmouth.

“They deserve total transparency from this government and a real say in the decisions about the project.”

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City MP backs Keep Britain Tidy’s million-mile mission to clean up Portsmouth’s lockdown litter

Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP has pledged support to a litter-picking initiative to allow it to flourish across Portsmouth as the pandemic restrictions continue to ease.

Keep Britain Tidy, Britain’s favourite environmental charity, is asking everyone to pledge to do their bit to clear up the litter that blights our communities as part of the Great British Spring Clean. The Portsmouth MP has signed up to help and is encouraging residents and groups across the city to get involved too.

The Great British Spring Clean, now in its sixth year, brings together individuals, community organisations, businesses and councils to make a difference to the environment on our doorstep.

In 2019, more than half a million #LitterHeroes collected just under a million bags of litter, weighing around 4,308 tons.

Encouraging fellow residents to get involved, Stephen Morgan MP, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

“Locked down, many people across Portsmouth have come to rely on green space close to home which has become a significant somewhere to escape, exercise and play.

“Our city’s parks and open spaces have mattered to us more than ever before. That’s why I am pleased to support this year’s Keep Britain Tidy campaign.

“The Great Spring Clean is a brilliant way to keep active and at the same time make a difference in our area.

I encourage fellow residents, local groups and businesses to join me in showing some love for the special places that helped us through lockdown by helping to clear up our city’s precious open spaces”.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend the city MP was out with local Milton campaigner Paula Savage clearing up litter safely in local parks.

The campaign, which runs from 28 May – 13 June 2021, calls on the public to pledge to clean-up and help the charity achieve a million miles of litter-picking. 

This year’s campaign comes as the charity has reported a massive increase in the number of people who have started litter-picking during the various lockdowns. It has seen the number of #LitterHeroes grow by a third in less than 12 months.

Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton added:

“We are delighted to have the support of Stephen Morgan MP for this year’s Great British Spring Clean.

“We have all spent a lot more time in our local area in the past year and have come to realise just how important our local park or green space is for our mental and physical health.

“We need to care for these spaces and the Great British Spring Clean is an opportunity for everyone to take a small action that, collectively, can make a big difference.

“Whether you commit to do five minutes or five hours, every single pledge will help us reach our million-mile target and clear many tonnes of litter pollution from our environment.”

Keep Britain Tidy is asking everyone to pledge to do their bit to clear up the litter in their local green spaces. Anyone can pledge to get involved at www.keepbritaintidy.org/gbspringclean

 

 

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City MP calls for Clean Air Act at landmark environmental summit

Stephen Morgan MP has joined Labour’s call for a Clean Air Act in a bid to combat the impact of air pollution, following the Official Opposition’s first Clean Air Summit today.

The first summit of its kind to be hosted by a major party, Luke Pollard MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, set out the Party’s demands for a Clean Air Act.

The Clean Air Act would establish a legal right to breathe clean air by ensuring the law on air quality is at least as strict as WHO guidelines, with tough new duties on Ministers to enforce them and grant new powers to local authorities to take urgent action on air quality.

Even before the pandemic, air pollution represented a national health emergency resulting in an estimated 40,000 early deaths each year, costing the UK £20 billion annually.

Meanwhile in Portsmouth, there have been historic issues with dirty polluting air and campaigns to stop the Lib Dem-run council from rolling back the proposed clean air zone plans to finally address the challenge in the city.

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said,

“We have had historic issues with air pollution in our city and Labour is taking national action to resolve this chronic issue we all face.

“The pandemic has shown us that public health is more important than ever. We need to take every step we can to improve the health of our nation, and that starts with cleaning up our polluted air.

“Our Clean Air Act would give public bodies the powers they need to take even further action and clean up our air for good.”

 

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Climate Emergency: Government must move further and faster

Like many constituents, I am passionate about the need for urgent action to tackle the climate and ecological emergency. It has long been a priority for me in the work I do locally in Portsmouth and in Parliament. Given the scale of the challenges we face, we know the time to act is now.

While many local authorities across the country – including Portsmouth – have declared a climate emergency, all we’ve seen from this government so far is dither and delay.

The Prime Minister must seize the once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a green recovery from the pandemic, and act to rapidly decarbonise our economy. Real progress on this issue requires more than rhetoric from Ministers. It requires a plan.

That’s why I support the aims of the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, which was presented by Caroline Lucas MP as a Private Members’ Bill on 2 September 2020. It was tabled for second reading on 12 March 2021, but sittings for Private Members’ Bills have since been suspended due to the pandemic, and it is important to point out it is merely a Presentation Bill meaning there will be no votes on the matters contained within the Bill. Similarly, unfortunately only a very small number of Private Members’ Bills ever become law, and they are usually those that have Government support.

Labour continues to develop its own parliamentary agenda on the climate emergency, in consultation with our members, the climate movement, trade unions, businesses, and communities across the country, which will include many of the principles laid out in this Bill. I am working closely with colleagues on this.

In the meantime, I want the UK to take tangible steps towards a greener future now. That’s why I voted for amendments to the government’s Environment Bill. New Clause 5 would have set a target to reverse the loss of biodiversity by 2030, while Amendment 25 would have set air quality targets in line with World Health Organisation recommendations.  

Not only did the government vote against these amendments, but I am bitterly disappointed to say they have also now delayed the next stages of the Bill until later this year. This now mean that we will be without a post-Brexit environmental plan until later this year, wasting valuable months in the lead up to COP26 where the UK has the chance to lead global change on this issue.

Confronted by this unfolding emergency, I am clear that 2050 is too late for the UK to end its contribution to climate breakdown and runaway global heating. According to the UN, we have less than ten years left to avoid the worst impacts of catastrophic climate change. The government must act with far greater urgency and ambition.

Whilst Labour will be outlining a vision for a Green Recovery in the coming months, I can assure you that I will continue to push for bold, rapid and meaningful action to tackle the climate and ecological emergency at every opportunity, both locally and nationally.

It is what the people of Portsmouth, and future generations, expect me to do. If you have views or ideas to help make this a reality, as always, please get in touch.

Stephen Morgan MP

 

 

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Portsmouth MP: ‘Government must commit to tackle air quality ahead of COP26 Presidency’

Stephen Morgan MP questioned Minsters in the House of Commons today to ensure the government commits to tackling air quality in the UK. The UK will assume the COP26 Presidency this year and will host the global climate conference in Glasgow this November.

This comes after the Official Opposition had pushed the government to tackle air quality in its recent Environment Bill to set parameters to ensure that the PM2.5 (particulate matter) target for air quality will be at least as strict as the 2005 WHO guidelines, with an attainment deadline of 2030 at the latest.

However, this proposition was voted down by the government.

As it stands, the legislation contains no firm targets, with the government committing only to setting one following a ‘review’. COP26 offers an opportunity for the UK to become a world leader on climate change, yet the decision could cause the UK to lag behind other European countries.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, commented,

“It cannot be right that on the year we are set to host the world’s biggest climate change conference, our own government refuses to commit to tackle air quality here in the UK.

“Air quality is already having real world impacts now, with our own city facing historic challenges with air pollution.

“If we are to emerge from this crisis and to be truly world leading in tackling the climate emergency, government should cut out the rhetoric and take action to face up to this challenge we all share.”

Mr Morgan continues to work with local groups to ensure the city council delivers its climate emergency and has consistently put pressure on national government to progress the climate agenda.