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Petitions

Volume 703: debated on Monday 15 November 2021

Petitions

Monday 15 November 2021

Observations

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

AQUIND Interconnector Project

The petition of residents of the United Kingdom,

Declares that the planned AQUIND Interconnector Project should not be allowed to be implemented due to the damage it would cause to the local community without clear benefits, further that the implementation could impact the wider environment; further that ongoing concerns remain surrounding the project company and their Directors.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government not to approve the AQUIND Interconnector Project.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Stephen Morgan, Official Report, 14 September 2021; Vol. 700, c. 948.]

[P002686]

Observations by The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Kwasi Kwarteng):

The petition submitted by the hon. Member for Portsmouth South (Stephen Morgan) on 14 September 2021 will be taken into consideration when taking the decision on whether to grant development consent for the proposed AQUIND Interconnector.

The benefits and impacts associated with the proposed AQUIND Interconnector were examined and assessed by the planning inspectorate. During that examination, interested parties were able to make written representations and there were two open floor hearings as well as issue specific hearings on matters including traffic, air quality and the environment.

In taking my decision, I will carefully consider all matters relevant to planning, including representations received following the close of the examination period.

On 21 October 2021, I made a statement to Parliament, advising that further work is necessary to consider this application in detail, including whether further information is required. I therefore extended the statutory deadline by three months, from 21 October 2021 to 21 January 2022.

Once the decision is taken, the decision letter setting out the reasons for my decision will be published alongside the examining authority's recommendation report on the planning inspectorate's website:

Haworth Post Office

The petition of the residents of the constituency of Keighley and Ilkley,

Declares that the Haworth Post Office is a very busy post office and convenience shop needed not only by the elderly in the nearby flats but also by many of the businesses on Main Street itself; further that the elderly cannot walk down to the bottom of Haworth and need this facility; and further that many businesses use Main Street branch for parcels which we understand cannot be taken into the new co-op facility.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to encourage Post Office Ltd to keep Haworth Post Office open.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Robbie Moore, Official Report, 14 September 2021; Vol. 700, c. 948.]

[P002688]

Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Paul Scully):

The Government recognise how important post offices are to their communities, which is why the Government protect both the branch network by setting minimum access criteria, as well as services by setting minimum services to be provided at post offices across the country. These criteria ensure that 90% of the population are within one mile of their nearest post office branch and that 99% of the population are within three miles of their nearest post office branch.

The Government understand that Post Office will be working in partnership with local stakeholders in Haworth to consider what the options are for the best sustainable solution for post office services in the area. While the Government set the strategic direction for Post Office, the management of the branch network is an operational responsibility for Post Office Ltd. It would therefore not be appropriate for Government to intervene in this situation.