Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Wednesday, 30 May 2007 12:13 UK

Green light for 1.5bn super-port

Shell Haven site
The go-ahead follows a public inquiry into the plans

The go-ahead has been given to plans for a 1.5bn super-port in Essex.

The London Gateway container port and business park will be built on the former Shell oil refinery site at Shell Haven in the Thames Estuary, Thurrock.

It follows a battle by P&O, now part of Dubai Ports World, to develop the site on the north bank of the Thames, including a public inquiry.

Some farmers in Kent opposed the plans saying agricultural land and wildlife habitats would be destroyed.

Extra traffic

The go-ahead comes after the public inquiry and various amendments to the original plans as well as measures to cope with extra road traffic.

Transport minister Gillian Merron said: "London Gateway will be able to provide much needed capacity for handling the UK's growing international trade in containers.

"This substantial development has the potential to provide many new jobs in the Thames Gateway Growth Area - already one of the Government's priority growth areas in England - including a possible 1,900 jobs which the promoters (P&O) forecast for the port alone."

The public inquiry into the plans opened in 2003.

Ms Merron said: "It has taken time to finalise this decision. But it was right to consider carefully, and make appropriate provision for, the significant impacts that this major development will have in the growth area.

'Jobs bonanza'

"This outcome reflects the hard work by the promoters, the local authorities, transport bodies, environmental organisations and others to reach agreement on ways to mitigate the impacts of the development."

Essex County Council said it welcomed the plans but would remain actively involved to ensure stringent standards were in place to protect the neighbouring environment and communities.

It said it had already secured nearly 1.25m from DP World for road upgrades in the immediate area, and would push for more much-needed infrastructure improvements to be incorporated as part of the final development.

Lord Hanningfield, county council leader, said: "I am delighted it has finally been approved and even more pleased the people of Essex will reap considerable benefits in terms of a major jobs bonanza, exciting new business opportunities, increased skills training and long-awaited road improvements."

Wildlife warning over port plans
10 Jan 04 |  England

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