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Port expansion to be debated

PUBLISHED: 17:20 30 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:48 03 March 2010

JOBS aplenty or damage to the environment are the stark choices facing residents today being urged to fight a mammoth port expansion project.

Campaigners have gone on the offensive against multi-million pound plans to build a new container terminal opposite Felixstowe, claiming it will lead to noise, pollution, loss of quality of life and destruction of wildlife habitat.

JOBS aplenty or damage to the environment are the stark choices facing residents today being urged to fight a mammoth port expansion project.

Campaigners have gone on the offensive against multi-million pound plans to build a new container terminal opposite Felixstowe, claiming it will lead to noise, pollution, loss of quality of life and destruction of wildlife habitat.

They have now been joined by national campaign group Friends of the Earth, which is organising a public meeting so residents can voice their anger.

Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited – owners of both Felixstowe and Harwich International Port – has submitted applications for the development of Bathside Bay, which will create 772 new jobs, plus many more in associated industries.

The government will have the final say over the development, which will make Harwich International Port the second largest container port in the UK, after a public inquiry later this year.

But opponents are desperate to stoke up their campaign to stop the plan well before then and will hold a public meeting on May 8 from 7pm at Kingsway Hall, Dovercourt.

The meeting, to be chaired by Mary Edwards, regional campaigner for Friends of the Earth in the East of England, will feature presentations by the RSPB, English Nature, Spindrift, Starboard, CPREssex and other local groups.

The hall will be open all day with exhibitions by organisations.

Campaigners say their concerns include noise, air, light and water pollution, destruction of land and marine wildlife habitats; congestion and safety issues on roads, loss of amenity and recreation opportunities, impact on tourism, and loss of quality of life for people in Harwich, Dovercourt and the Shotley peninsula.

Mary Edwards said: "My first impression, on visiting Old Harwich, was of the history. Much of what made Harwich great in the past is still around today for visitors and locals to enjoy. All this would be irreparably altered for the worst under Hutchison Ports' proposals.

"Friends of the Earth are arranging this meeting, with the help of local organisations, to enable local people to air their concerns about the quality of life in the shadow of a monster container port.

"Harwich has so much potential for sustainable development, but we believe that opportunity will be lost if Bathside Bay is built upon."

Hutchison Ports UK has said it is fully committed to the development of new deep-water container berths at Bathside Bay and Felixstowe with both projects vital if the UK is to remain competitive with European ports.

With the extension of Trinity Terminal and redevelopment of the southern part of the Port of Felixstowe, Bathside Bay will bring the total container capacity within the Harwich Haven to some 6.9 million standard-sized boxes.

N What do you think of this development? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk


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