Port expansion gets go-ahead

EXECUTIVES at Felixstowe port breathed a huge sigh of relief today as the government gave the go-ahead for its long-awaited £80 million expansion.Whitehall announced the result of the public inquiry called by a single objector into the scheme for 270 metres of new quays – finding in favour of the port.

EXECUTIVES at Felixstowe port breathed a huge sigh of relief today as the government gave the go-ahead for its long-awaited £80 million expansion.

Whitehall announced the result of the public inquiry called by a single objector into the scheme for 270 metres of new quays – finding in favour of the port.

It meant the end of a two-year wait to find out if the project at Trinity Terminal can proceed, and will mean the creation of 400 new jobs.

Port bosses will immediately order work on final designs and put out tenders for contracts to get the venture started as soon as possible.

Richard Pearson, managing director of Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd, said: "We are delighted that the Secretary of State has made the Harbour Revision Order for the extension of Trinity Terminal.

"We are now keen to get this work underway as soon as possible. The extension is essential to provide additional deep-water capacity for the largest container vessels servicing the UK.

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"We will be awarding contracts as quickly as practicable, and aim to have the quay operational within 14 months."

The development is vital nationally and locally. It will enable the port to berth two of the latest generation of large container vessels simultaneously, securing its ability to compete against other European ports.

Along with 40 acres of extra back-up land and a third railhead, it will provide much-needed boost to capacity for the boxport, which currently handles 2.5 million standard-sized containers a year.

Port chiefs estimate it will create 400 jobs, many of them connected with the construction of the extension, and help safeguard employment for the 2,600 people directly employed at the port, and many thousands who rely on

the 700-acre complex for their livelihoods.

The public inquiry, heard by Air Vice Marshal Andrew Roberts, was called after protests by Bob Sayers of Shotley, though he was supported by other residents at the hearing and campaign group Starboard.

Mr Sayers told the inquiry he was not against the jobs and economic prosperity the port brought to the area, but claimed its noise levels were violating residents' human rights and ruining the peaceful enjoyment of their homes.

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