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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 April, 2004, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
Campaigners win super-port fight
Dibden Bay
The plan would have doubled Southampton's port capacity
Campaigners have won their fight to stop a huge container port being built near a major habitat for wildlife.

The Department of Transport has blocked plans for a super-port at Dibden Bay, near the New Forest in Hampshire.

A year-long independent inquiry into the 600m plan by Associated British Ports (ABP) ended in December 2002.

Hampshire County Council and Friends of the Earth had argued against the port. But Southampton City Council backed it, saying it would bring many new jobs.

Transport Minister Tony McNulty said on Tuesday that despite the decision the government fully understood the need for expanding port capacity.

We are thrilled ministers are sticking to their principles instead of bolstering big business
Brenda Pollack, Friends of the Earth

"One important factor in the making of this decision was the environmental impact of the proposals on internationally protected sites.

"After carefully considering all the arguments and impacts I have concluded that, overall, the scheme should not go ahead."

ABP had argued that up to 10,000 new jobs would be created by the development, although many would have been temporary.

It had proposed to build a terminal 1.85km long (1.1 miles) and six berths deep on Southampton Water.

But environmentalists warned that the port would increase pollution and traffic in the area around Dibden Bay, with disastrous consequences for wildlife.

This is very disappointing news both for Southampton and the south Hampshire economy
Adrian Vinson, Southampton City Council

ABP's Southampton port director, Andrew Kent, admitting the company would have to write off 45m of costs, said the decision not to go ahead was "extremely serious".

It would have an adverse effect on the local and regional economies, he added.

Brenda Pollack of Friends of the Earth, told BBC News Online: "Today's decision has vindicated our position that the damage caused by the proposals would far outweigh any economic benefits.

"We are thrilled ministers are sticking to their principles and realised that this was an unsustainable development instead of bolstering the profits of big business."

Councillor Melville Kendal, leader of New Forest District Council, said he was pleased that the people of the New Forest would not have to suffer disruption.

Other objectors included English Nature, the Environment Agency, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Residents Against Dibden Bay group.

But the leader of Southampton City Council has warned the decision could damage the local economy.

Councillor Adrian Vinson said: "This is very disappointing news both for Southampton and the south Hampshire economy.

"The effect of this will be felt far beyond the city, and has the potential to harm economic development in the widest sense."



MPs boost super-port plan
13 Nov 03  |  Hampshire/Dorset
Fancy-dress protest over port
03 Dec 02  |  England
Green groups have say over port
28 Nov 01  |  England
Head to head: 'Super-port' plans
27 Nov 01  |  UK News
Port will 'blight' national park
10 Oct 01  |  England

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