RSPB opposes port development

A CHARITY'S objections to a port expansion in Essex were significant in the refusal of a similar scheme in Hampshire, a public inquiry has been told.The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) spoke out against a proposed new container port at Bathside Bay in Harwich.

A CHARITY'S objections to a port expansion in Essex were significant in the refusal of a similar scheme in Hampshire, a public inquiry has been told.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) spoke out against a proposed new container port at Bathside Bay in Harwich.

The public inquiry was told yesterdaythat an inspector who recently rejected an application for a container port in Dibden Bay, Hampshire, had "comprehensively endorsed" the charity's objections in his refusal.

Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited (HPUK) wants to expand Harwich International Port and create Harwich International Container Terminal in adjoining Bathside Bay.

David Fordsnick,QC, representing the RSPB, told the Harwich inquiry that similar reasoning to Dibden should be applied to the Bathside Bay application.

He said: "The RSPB opposes the proposal before this inquiry.

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"The secretary of state cannot be satisfied that the proposal will not have an adverse effect on the site and it is common ground that it will have an adverse effect on the SPA (Special Protection Area)."

Mr Fordsnick said that the developer's evidence of alternative solutions to the new container port had fallen short of satisfying the regulations.

Under national and EU law, proposals must show that they will not adversely affect protected areas.

If they cannot, they must prove that no alternative solutions exist and that reasons of overriding public interest justify the development.

Mr Fordsnick said there was no need now or in the immediate future to promote Bathside Bay given the potential of other, less damaging means to meet the need.

He said the RSPB's view had been "rubbished" by the applicant at Dibden Bay but had been endorsed by the inquiry inspector.

"There is no over-riding public interest (for Bathside Bay) now or in the future," he said.

If it goes ahead, the expansion would mean a further 1,400m of quay, 11 ship-to-shore gantry cranes and capacity to deal with the largest container ships.

The public inquiry at the Trade Car Services building off Stour Road, Harwich, is expected to last five months.

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