Port will ruin TV reception

TELEVISION reception in Felixstowe will dramatically worsen if a £240 million expansion of Felixstowe port gets the go-ahead, it was claimed today.Campaigners fear larger cranes moving up and down the quaysides and more stacks of containers will interfere with signals and leave screens unwatchable for thousands of people.

TELEVISION reception in Felixstowe will dramatically worsen if a £240 million expansion of Felixstowe port gets the go-ahead, it was claimed today.

Campaigners fear larger cranes moving up and down the quaysides and more stacks of containers will interfere with signals and leave screens unwatchable for thousands of people.

Port chiefs have pledged to monitor the situation as work on the redevelopment of Landguard Terminal progresses and to take "reasonable and proper steps" to improve reception if the project does ruin it.

But experts believe there may be little which can be done, except for viewers to switch to satellite or the town to enter in to a community cable partnership.

Councillor Mike Ninnmey is to tell Felixstowe Town Council tonight the findings of his research so far into the problems which could be facing large areas of the town.

Television reception has never been great because of Felixstowe's coastal position, and previous port expansions have not helped. A relay station has been built in Ranelagh car park and a booster transmitter put on Anzani House.

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Mr Ninnmey said: "I have been talking with people at the BBC and they seem to think we will have two choices - cable or satellite.

"With the cranes moving up and down the new and extended quays, cranes standing still, and the huge numbers of boxes being stacked high on the port and on the land around it, we have a triple whammy.

"Effectively, these combine to produce a metal screen which will absorb the TV signal coming from the Sudbury transmitter and make it weaker and weaker.

"Repeater stations might help give it a fresh boost but we would probably need several of these at different points in the town and it is difficult to see if they would be successful.

"It is all very fine for the port to say it will monitor the situation, and then everyone has to wait till it gets really bad.

"I think we can all see now action will be needed - it would be better if measures were put in first rather than everyone having to suffer and wait for a solution."

One solution was the creation of a community cable partnership with one of the big systems providers.

"Parts of our town have cable but work stopped and the companies concerned have never been back. A partnership could work because it would mean there would be guarantees of take-up of the service, which the providers making all the investment never had before," he said.

Most councillors are satisfied with arrangements outlined in the legal agreements for the port expansion and happy TV reception problems will this time be dealt with as previous permissions have ignored the issue.

n. What do you think should be done? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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