Port expansion 'would be hell'

A "monster port" on the East Anglian coast could turn one town into a living hell and surround a village across the estuary with a ring of steel and concrete, a public meeting was told last night.

A "monster port" on the East Anglian coast could turn one town into a living hell and surround a village across the estuary with a ring of steel and concrete, a public meeting was told last night.

Campaigners opposed to a new deep water port at Harwich last night urged people to object to the plans before it is too late.

About 120 people from Essex and Suffolk attended a public meeting arranged by Friends of the Earth about Hutchison Ports plans to develop Bathside Bay in Harwich.

Hutchison want to build a deep water port which could handle up to four deep sea container ships at a time making it the second largest container port in the United Kingdom with a 3,000 metre quay.


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The plan has the backing of Harwich MP Ivan Henderson and Harwich Town Council. Supporters say it will boost the local economy.

Mary Edwards regional campaigner for Friends of the Earth in the East of England urged people to oppose the plans which have been lodged with Tendring District Council before the May 30 deadline.

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Opposition to the development centres around, concerns about noise, air, light and water pollution. Destruction of land and marine wildlife habitat, congestion and safety issues on roads surrounding the port and shipping within the estuary. Loss of amenity as recreation opportunities including small boats, impact on tourism, loss of quality of life for people living in Harwich, Dovercourt and the Shotley peninsula.

Martina Weatherley of Spindrift a Harwich based anti-Bathside Bay Development Group said: "I am opposed to the project because I think it will destroy the quality of life for residents. I think it will affect everybody. I don't think it's a long term viable or sustainable project."

She added: "I think it will cripple Harwich. I think it could destroy tourism and the whole character of the town."

Tim Mason from Starboard the equivalent group set up in Shotley said: "Shotley will be encircled by a ring of steel and concrete.

"If Bathside Bay is developed the existing noise from Harwich will be exacerbated many, many times.

"Our concerns are noise, light and airborne pollution – we suffer from all of this already. We have black deposits in our houses from ships."

John Tibbles from Stour and Orwell Estuary Friends of the Earth said he doubted whether the proposed port would deliver 772 jobs as promised by Hutchison. He said he also questioned the long-term viability of the port which would turn Harwich into a 'living hell'.

The plans for the port expansion are subject to a public inquiry, which is expected to be held later this year. The Government will make the final decision based on the inquiry report and an inspector's recommendation.

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