Transport Minister, Derek Twigg, today indicated that he is set to approve proposals for a container port at Bathside Bay, Harwich, Essex. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is also issuing a letter today indicating that Ministers are minded to approve the planning applications relating to the same proposal.
The minded approval comes after a public inquiry in 2004, following which the inquiry inspector recommended in favour of the proposals, subject to conditions.
There are however some matters which require further clarification, including making sure that the right conditions are imposed on the development to secure the necessary highways improvements in good time to provide congestion relief.
Commenting on the announcement, Derek Twigg said: “We believe this expansion in ports capacity is justified by the economic benefits it will bring regionally and nationally, for UK industry and the economy. We are committed to sustainable distribution and this new project would play a large part in securing that aim. That is why I am minded to agree with the Inspector’s recommendation that we should approve this project.
“We understand at the same time that the new terminal will have a significant impact on the environment. This is why we agree that there should be controls imposed on the development, to provide new road and rail infrastructure so that congestion does not increase, to provide compensatory habitats for wildlife displaced by the scheme, and to reduce other environmental impacts such as noise, pollution and the visual impact.”