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Objector denies trying to prevent jobs

PUBLISHED: 11:17 28 May 2002 | UPDATED: 12:00 03 March 2010

ON the day of the public inquiry into the Port of Felixstowe expansion campaigner Bob Sayers today denied that he wanted to stop new jobs being created at the docks.

ON the day of the public inquiry into the Port of Felixstowe expansion campaigner Bob Sayers today denied that he wanted to stop new jobs being created at the docks.

Mr Sayers – the lone objector who will take on the might of the port's legal eagles at the inquiry into the container terminal's £80 million expansion – said his main concern was more riverside land being concreted over.

"The port has three kilometres of quays and it does not make the best use of those at present," he told The Evening Star.

"I am against more land being taken and turned into concrete just because the port says its needs to expand – it's the easy option and one which will see more and more land taken in the future as the port says it is an interim measure.

"What about making deepwater at Landguard Terminal and other parts of the port to create new berths?

"I am not against jobs – I want people to have jobs. I would like to see Felixstowe people crawling home every night with fatigue from working.

"But last year, according to figures I have obtained and will be showing the inquiry, the port did not grow and so there is no need for expansion."

The public inquiry into the port's proposals for a 40-acre extension, including two new deepwater berths, back-up land and a new railhead, is due to begin today at Ipswich Town's Portman Road ground.

Mr Sayers, who is not expected to present his case until Thursday, is also concerned about wildlife and the environment, and noise from both construction of the 270 metres of new quays and port working.

"In Holland, they even have to take down the advertising boards at a new hockey pitch because it is next to a Site of Special Scientific Interest," said Mr Sayers, 60, of Stourside, Shotley Gate.

"Here we have a port being built near an SSSI and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and no-one will insist its cranes are taken down at night!"

"I cannot believe this development is in the national interest."

The port argues that the extension is necessary both for the future security of jobs at the port, but also because the port is fast-reaching capacity.

In addition, Britain has under-capacity as far as container handling space is concerned, and refusal of the harbour revision order to allow the new berths would harm Felixstowe's competitiveness with its European rivals.

Felixstowe port has said there is a "pressing need" for its extension and will put its case at the inquiry.


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