More noise and flood risk from port plan

By Ted JeoryABOUT 19,000 residents face an increase in noise and there could be a greater risk of flooding if the Bathside Bay port development goes ahead, a report has warned.

By Ted Jeory

ABOUT 19,000 residents face an increase in noise and there could be a greater risk of flooding if the Bathside Bay port development goes ahead, a report has warned.

Tendring District Council officers have given a broad welcome to the £300million container port planned for Harwich, which could create hundreds of jobs.

But they also highlighted environmental concerns and said the company behind the project, Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd, had offered little to mitigate potential rising noise levels.

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In a report to a special meeting of the council's development control committee on Wednesday, officers stated there would be an “adverse” impact on the local environment during the construction and operational phases of the development.

They added during this time, community noise guidelines set down by the World Health Organisation would be exceeded.

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The report continued: “The port will operate 24 hours a day and it is estimated that the increase in noise level - compared to existing - will be noticeable to 19,000 people with 3,400 experiencing a significant increase.

“Predictions do not include isolated noise events such as bangs and clatters. Little has been offered in terms of mitigation.”

It added there could be even more noise from road transport if the predicted share of movement by rail was reduced.

The officers were also concerned about the potential higher risk of flooding if the new container terminal was built and they reserved the right to present evidence on this when the plan goes before a public inquiry in April.

However, the report said the expansion scheme “broadly accords with regeneration, employment and port development policies” and that it was “well designed and appropriately landscaped”.

Tendring District Council has yet to come to a formal view on the controversial project, but it is thought by some senior councillors to be fundamental to the economic regeneration of the area.

But Jenni Meredith, spokeswoman for Residents Against Port Expansion, said the noise and other pollution from the development would be intolerable.

“I don't think people really understand the effect this kind of industrial noise can have on people. I'm often woken up the banging that you can hear as far away as Felixstowe when they're working at night,” she added.

“What about children's sleep patterns? They're going to be kept awake and it's not as if they can have a nap in the afternoon because they have to go to school.”

Paul Davey, communications manager at Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd, said he did not wish to comment on specific items in the report ahead of the public inquiry, but he added the project would be a “huge boost” to the economy.

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