MP backs port development bid

AN MP yesterday declared his support for the multi-million pound Bathside Bay development saying it was vital to help regeneration on the Essex coast. Harwich MP Douglas Carswell's comments came as the company behind the scheme, Hutchison Ports UK, confirmed it thinks there is sufficient demand for three major port developments in the country within the next decade.

AN MP yesterday declared his support for the multi-million pound Bathside Bay development saying it was vital to help regeneration on the Essex coast.

Harwich MP Douglas Carswell's comments came as the company behind the scheme, Hutchison Ports UK, confirmed it thinks there is sufficient demand for three major port developments in the country within the next decade.

A decision from the Government on the deep-sea container terminal at Harwich and another at the southern end of the Port of Felixstowe is expected this autumn.

Earlier this year the Government said it was “minded to” approve an application for a P&O development at Shellhaven in Thurrock.


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Many felt the announcement had left the Bathside development hanging in the balance but Hutchison said yesterday the country's deep-sea ports capacity could run out unless all three schemes are given the green light.

But environmental group, Friends of the Earth, said the call for all the major developments “smacked of desperation”.

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The charity has said it believes the Bathside Bay scheme would lead to noise, light, water and wind pollution and called for the Government to produce a national ports strategy before deciding which of the current proposals gets the go-ahead.

Those in favour of the expansion have insisted it could bring a major economic boost to the area, with the creation of hundreds of new jobs.

Tory MP Mr Carswell said: “It should be given the go-ahead, I have always accepted there will be some impact on the residents who leave nearby, no-one is seriously denying that.

“But the benefits greatly outweigh any disadvantages - you only have to look at Felixstowe, a thriving and bustling port to see that is what we need in Harwich and I have written to the secretary of state about it.

“It really will help with jobs and regeneration and allow the port to compete with the biggest and the best out there.

“It is a good thing economically and socially and should go-ahead. Harwich and Dovercourt needs this and I think it would be very good news if it went ahead.”

A spokesman for Hutchison confirmed: “It is clear that the demand from shipping lines is for additional capacity in the south and east of the UK, and although we note that the Shellhaven application has not yet been approved, we believe that all three of the proposed facilities in the eastern region will be needed within the next 10 years.

“In terms of deep sea container requirement we think the capacity will be reached in the next few years. Some of the shipping lines now think that we are already short of capacity.”

But Mary Edwards, regional campaigner for Friends of the Earth said: “I think it all adds up to smacking of desperation on their part.

“Even within the industry, they have acknowledged you cannot possibly have enough business for all three of these ports.

“Nobody really believes that Shell Haven will be a 'no' and we hope Shellhaven will be a death knell for Bathside.

“Bathside is the most controversial, it is part of the special protection area but to think that they could get Felixstowe South and Bathside is absolute insanity.

“If it got the go-ahead there would be air, water and light pollution for the people in the town and the roads would be more congested as there would be three to five thousand more HGVs each day.

“The over capacity would send all the ports into a tail spin and they will all have to drop prices to get the business.”

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