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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 November 2006, 08:27 GMT
'Ghost ships' U-turn hopes dashed
US ghost fleet
The first of four ships arrived on Teesside in November 2003
A council has refused to reconsider its rejection of proposals to scrap former US naval vessels at a yard on Teesside.

Able UK won a contract to dismantle up to 13 so-called ghost ships at its facility in Graythorp, Hartlepool.

A lengthy planning process resulted in Hartlepool councillors throwing out the firm's applications in October.

Able UK urged the authority to rethink its decision, but a behind-closed-doors meeting reaffirmed the rejection of the applications on environmental grounds.

Some councillors claimed allowing the vessels to be dismantled would turn Hartlepool into the toxic dumping ground of Britain.

But Able UK insisted there were no environmental threats from the ships and the deal would bring upward of 700 jobs to Teesside.

Protest march

Four vessels have been berthed in Hartlepool since 2003 awaiting planning approval.

Able UK's chairman and chief executive Peter Stephenson said it was disappointing the planning committee had not taken the opportunity to reconsider the applications.

"This had the potential to create over 749 quality permanent jobs and benefits to North East suppliers of around 50m per annum," he said.

"We had hoped that councillors who voted against the application would have taken the opportunity to realise the benefits and reconsider the application.

"Since the planning committee's initial decision we have received an abundance of job applications and support from individuals offering to organise a protest march in Hartlepool to show support for our application."

The company is considering a formal appeal against the council's decision.




SEE ALSO
Q&A: Ghost ships
07 Jan 04 |  England

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