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Compensation calls over port expansion

PUBLISHED: 04:41 26 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:03 03 March 2010

CALLS were made today for a package of compensation to support the Shotley area - before a multi-million pound container port is built.

Liberal Democrat county councillor David Wood said Hutchison Ports - owners of Felixstowe and Harwich International ports - had not made a sound case for developing the terminal, which would have a huge impact on Shotley.

CALLS were made today for a package of compensation to support the Shotley area - before a multi-million pound container port is built.

Liberal Democrat county councillor David Wood said Hutchison Ports – owners of Felixstowe and Harwich International ports – had not made a sound case for developing the terminal, which would have a huge impact on Shotley.

Mr Wood spoke out against the Bathside Bay expansion as the county council executive committee agreed to raise no objection to the project but called for more information and attention to be paid to the way it could affect residents.

Hutchison Ports says the 250-acre development will create 772 new jobs, plus many more in associated industries.

It will create the second largest container terminal in the country – Felixstowe, a mile across the harbour, is the biggest – and provide deep-water berths needed for Britain to remain competitive with its European rivals.

Mr Wood said: "Hutchison ports have not made a sound case for expanding the port. As far as I see can all the benefits are on the Tendring side of the Stour and the disbenefits are on the Shotley Peninsula side."

Bathside Bay currently provides a break in port development stretching from Trimley to Parkeston Quay, shielding Shotley from the worst of the noise, air and light pollution.

"If the bay was developed it would bring the shoreline of Harwich much closer to Shotley and bring with it unacceptable levels of noise, air and light pollution," he said.

"Construction of the port would also accelerate the erosion of the Stour on the Suffolk side and threaten many protected sites.

"There is inadequate rail and road links to the port at present. Lorry drivers are already using the A137 as a shortcut to Harwich instead of the A12 and the A120 and this will only get worse.

"If this development takes place Hutchison Ports should start talking to the people of Suffolk so adequate measures of compensatory economic, social and environmental support for the Shotley area can be implemented prior to any development."

County councillors voiced concerns over the port plan – currently before Tendring council – including whether there is an overriding national need for it, light pollution, measures to compensate for the effect on the ecology of the Stour estuary and erosion of the intertidal areas around Shotley.

A report stressed that the port should make as much use as possible of rail links to transport containers. It also highlighted that proposals included no financial support to improve the Shotley-Felixstowe-Harwich summer foot ferry, and allow it to operate all year round so Suffolk people could take advantage of new jobs created.

The scheme will double Harwich's quay length to 3,000 metres, and enable it to handle up to four deep-sea container vessels simultaneously and around 1.7 million containers a year.

n What do you think – is Bathside Bay needed or will it ruin life in Shotley? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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