Port expansion will cause noise problems

PEOPLE living near Britain's top port have been warned they will face noise and disturbance from next week when the main work starts on a major expansion project.

Richard Cornwell

PEOPLE living near Britain's top port have been warned they will face noise and disturbance from next week when the main work starts on a major expansion project.

The first phase of the £250 million-plus scheme is expected to take until 2010 - and the transformation of the southern part of the port and a new visitor centre at Landguard will not be complete for six years.

It is expected to create up to 1,500 new jobs.

Preliminary work started four weeks ago but this week demolition of many old buildings and site clearance got under way.

From Monday, contractors Costain Ltd will be installing six piles at the southern end of Landguard Terminal to secure a temporary pontoon, with further test piling the following week by the Dock Basin entrance.

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Suffolk Coastal cabinet member Andrew Nunn said the council was well aware construction could cause problems to the area.

“Such a major project will inevitably mean some noise and disturbance, but this council's environmental protection team have been working closely with the port and Costain Ltd to minimise the impact on local communities,” he said.

“I know from our discussions that both are ready to listen and take action if it is appropriate.”

Phase one of the project will create an additional 730 metres of deep-water quay, dredged to 16m, along with seven state-of-the-art quayside cranes, so the port can handle the largest container ships in the world.

The first 440 metres of quay are scheduled to be available by April 2010, with all phase one fully operational by September of that year. Landguard Terminal will remain operational during construction.

Phase two is currently expected to be operational by 2014. The new development, when completed, will create a total of four new deep-water berths, with a total length of 1,285 metres, and will be equipped with 13 ship-to-shore gantry cranes. This will provide overall capacity of 5.3 million standard-sized containers a year at Felixstowe.

Chris Lewis, chief executive officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited, which owns the Port of Felixstowe, said: “There is a shortage of deep-water container terminal capacity, and this development confirms that Felixstowe will be the first major UK port to provide much-needed additional capacity for deep-sea container operators.

“As the UK's leading container port, it is important we are able to provide sufficient quality of deep-water facilities required to support UK container traffic growth.

“Felixstowe enjoys an unrivalled position close to the major trade routes, and Felixstowe South will ensure we remain the UK's premier port for the foreseeable future.”