Memorandum by Residents Against Dibden
Bay Port (P 01)
MODERN PORTSA UK POLICY
This submission provides comment on four of
the major themes described in the document "Modern PortsA
UK Policy". These themes are:
(1) The need for our ports to match the demanding
expectations of the shipping industry (Section 2.1.6.).
(2) The need to prove that there is no alternative
to proposed new developments (Sections 2.4.12, 2.4.19, 2.4.21).
(3) The presumption in favour of making the
best use of existing infrastructure (Sections 2.1.15, 2.4.3, 2.4.10,
(4) The need to take into account environmental
and social impacts (Sections 2.1.17, 2.4.17).
Please note that this document references the
official objections (RADBP) submitted to the DETR on Associated
British Ports (ABP) Harbour Revision Order for Dibden Bay.
1. THE NEEDS
This section refers specifically to the need
for ports to have deep approaches and the widest possible tidal
windows. In the container industry, the major North West European
Ports such as Rotterdam and Antwerp have standardised on 14.5
metres for their approach channels. In fact Felixstowe, the UK's
major container port attained this channel depth in 2000. By comparison,
Associated British Ports make no mention of the potential need
to dredge the channel into the Port of Southampton for the proposed
Dibden Bay container terminal. The current approach from Portsmouth
(known as the Nab) via Southampton Water is restricted to 12.6
metres. We believe that this limitation will have a significant
impact on the future viability of a container port at Dibden Bay,
and consequently, the need to dredge the channel should have been
included in the original Harbour Revision Order.
2. THE "NEED"
At this moment in time, there are three major
container port developments at various stages in the planning
process ie P&O's proposed redevelopment of the redundant Shell
Refinery in Essex (3.5 million TEUs), Harwich, Bathside (1.7 million
TEUs), and Dibden Bay (2.4 million TEUs). In addition to these,
a new berth is being built at Tilbury (0.3 million TEUs) and two
further berths are planned at Felixstowe (0.5 million TEUs). Given
the demand on the South East container ports in 1999 was a total
of 4.9 million TEUs, it has to be concluded that not all of the
above developments can be supported.
Wherever port development takes place there
will be some environmental and social impact. However, it is our
contention that UK demand can be easily satisfied without touching
Dibden Bay at locations where the impact is relatively low.
||P&O Shell Haven
||Harwich Bathside||Dibden Bay
|Is the development on a Brownfield site
|Is the foreshore protected||No
|Is there a road and rail infrastructure in place
|Is the local council in favour of the plan
|Is the local MP in favour of the plan||Yes
|What is the local level of unemployment
3. MAKING BEST
RADBP maintain that ABP do not make best use of its existing
container port facilities. Vast areas of the port of Southampton
are given over to the car import/export trade or to activities
that are not port related, but are resident in the docks. Using
ABP's own data, it can be seen that there is a massive productivity
gap between the existing Southampton Container Terminal (SCT)
and the proposed container port at Dibden Bay.
| ||Existing Terminal
|Length of quay available for container ship berths
||2.18 kms||1.8 kms
|Number of berths available||7
|Current throughput (TEUs)||1 million
|Planned throughput (TEUs)||Not stated
|Labour productivity Containers per employee per year
|TEUs handled per metre of quay per year
Please note that the existing terminal is only using four
out of an available seven berths for container ships. Two berths
are used for cars and one berth is idle.
RADBP maintain that no development of Dibden Bay can be justified
as long as there are alternative brownfield sites in South East
England and as long as such a large productivity gap exists between
the existing terminal in Southampton and the proposed port at
4. ENVIRONMENTAL AND
Southampton Water is a very narrow waterway, consequently
any environmental impact is accentuated. By comparison, the Thames
at Shell Haven is two miles wide and the ports of Felixstowe and
Harwich sit directly on the estuary. English Nature, the Environmental
Agency, Hampshire Wildlife Trust and the Royal Society for the
Protection of Birds are all opposed to the Dibden Bay plan. They
believe it will be environmentally damaging and that the proposed
mitigation and compensation measures will not work.
It is significant that ABP do not plan to put in place the
compensation measures and prove that they are viable before they
destroy Dibden Bay. This is completely at odds with the Ports
Policy document section 2.4.22, which requires the developer to
safeguard the coherence of the protected sites. Also, in a written
response to a Parliamentary question regarding the protection
of Ramsar sites (13 December 2000), Michael Meacher stated that
any new habitat must have a reasonable expectation of being successful
and that it must be delivered within a timescale that secures
the continuing nature conservation interests of any species present.
We do not believe that the ABP plan for Dibden Bay satisfies any
of these requirements.
From the social point of view, the proposed development at
Dibden Bay will be devastating. The local communities of Hythe,
Dibden and Marchwood have never been made aware that a port development
was a possibility. These townships have been in place for many
years and very little housing has been built in the last ten years.
The Dibden Bay development will be closer to the local population
than any other similar development in the UK. Furthermore, the
local population would be expected to endure nine continuous years
of construction activity.
Associated British Port's Harbour Revision Order for the
planned Container Port at Dibden Bay does not meet the intent
of the Ports Policy in a number of key areas.
(1) Omission of the need to improve the approach channel.
(2) Inadequate consideration given to alternative sites
in South East England.
(3) Low productivity in the existing port.
(4) An inadequate environmental assessment, which proposes
unproven mitigation measures and provides no continuity of habitat.
(5) Unacceptable impact on the local population.
Eur Ing Mr F P Vickers
ChairmanResidents Against Dibden Bay Port
27 December 2000
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