County council to discuss port expansion
A COUNCIL'S executive committee is being advised not to object to a port owner's plans to develop Bathside Bay near Harwich.But Suffolk county councillors are expected to send a message to planning authority Tendring District Council that they want to be satisfied on a number of criteria likely to affect residents, including people in Shotley.
A COUNCIL'S executive committee is being advised not to object to a port owner's plans to develop Bathside Bay near Harwich.
But Suffolk county councillors are expected to send a message to planning authority Tendring District Council that they want to be satisfied on a number of criteria likely to affect residents, including people in Shotley.
Suffolk's executive committee is to meet on Tuesday, June 24, to discuss plans put forward by port owners Hutchison (UK) Ltd to turn Bathside Bay into the UK's second largest container terminal.
Hutchison has calculated that the development could create up to 1,700 direct and indirect jobs for local people.
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But among the questions raised in a report to the executive committee are whether there is an overriding national need for the port to be developed and that if it were to go ahead, construction and operating methods would be used that would keep noise to a minimum.
Light pollution, measures to compensate for the effect on the ecology of the Stour estuary and erosion of the intertidal areas around Shotley are also raised as areas of concern.
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The area is of particular importance as a feeding ground and roosting area for waterfowl and Hutchison has indicated that some 70 hectares of inter-tidal land, including salt marshes, mud flats and other coastal habitat would be reclaimed if Bathside Bay were to be developed.
Also the coast on the Shotley side of the water is eroding rapidly, at a rate of 50-60 mm a year, a rate likely to increase due to increased wave action following the development, according to an environmental statement submitted with the Hutchison planning application.
The county council report also stresses that the port should make as much use as possible of rail links to transport containers.
It adds that in Hutchison's proposals include no mention of financial support to improve the current Shotley-Felixstowe-Harwich summer foot ferry, and allow it to operate all year round so that Suffolk people could take advantage of the jobs created.