Prince Philip to visit Felixstowe

PORT bosses at Felixstowe will be looking for the royal seal of approval for a £240million expansion proposal when the Duke of Edinburgh visits next week.

PORT bosses at Felixstowe will be looking for the royal seal of approval for a £240million expansion proposal when the Duke of Edinburgh visits next week.

It will be the second time in just under five years that Prince Philip has visited Britain's biggest container port.

On his last visit in October 2000 he followed in his daughter Anne's footsteps by ascending one of the huge quayside cranes to unload a container from a ship and place it on a road-tug while getting a bird's eye view of the 700-acre port.

It was Prince Philip's maritime interest which led him to request the trip, which also included a visit to the operations centre at Harwich Haven Authority, opened by The Princess Royal the previous year.


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On Wednesday, July 20 he will again visit Harwich before arriving at Felixstowe by pilot launch.

After being presented to local dignitaries, Prince Philip will view a model of the port, and Chris Lewis, chief operating officer of the Port of Felixstowe, will explain Hutchison Ports' expansion plans in Harwich Haven.

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The port is still waiting to hear from the government whether it will be granted permission for its expansion following a public inquiry last autumn.

It hopes to start work on the scheme next year as there is a critical need for more container-handling capacity at UK ports.

The scheme will see Landguard Terminal, the former P&O passenger terminal and Dock Basin - the historic heart of the port - converted into a deepwater terminal able to handle the world's largest container ships.

There will also be a new rail terminal, back-up storage land, and an extra 1,350 metres of quay, doubling the port's capacity.

There has been huge concern about traffic the project will generate - one million more lorry movements on the A14 on the Felixstowe peninsula by 2023, even with the dualling of the railway line between Trimley and the Suffolk Showground - and problems it could bring.

The inquiry was presented with a package of community measures, including a visitor centre at Landguard and a new port viewing area, to mitigate concerns.

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