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“Region’s Relief” as ABP abandons Energy Park opposition

News that Associated British Ports has decided to abandon its attempts to challenge the Government’s approval of plans for the development of the £450million Able Marine Energy Park on the South Bank of the Humber is ‘of course very welcome but well over a year later than it need have been.’

That was the reaction of Able UK Executive Chairman Peter Stephenson to today’s statement from ABP that, following the clear rejection last week by a High Court Judge of its attempts to seek a Judicial Review of the decision of the Secretary of State for Transport to grant a Development Control Order for the AMEP project, it would not seek to pursue the matter further.

Said Mr Stephenson “I am sure that across the whole region there will be a sigh of relief that this saga, which has gone on for so long, is now coming to an end and that we can all now concentrate on driving forward AMEP and the commitment we all share to transform the economy of the area and establish the Humber as world leader in the renewable energy industries.

“ABP says it has taken this decision because it has been unable to convince Able of the merits of its case, but, of course, the reality is that its arguments have failed to convince the hugely detailed and lengthy planning process, overseen by senior planning inspectors, a Government Minister, a Joint Parliamentary Committee—and finally the High Court.

“It has not been a case of us seeking the ‘seizure’ of the small area of land needed for our development, but the decision, again by the planning inspectorate, the Secretary of State, a Joint Parliamentary Committee—and the High Court—that the legal process of Compulsory Acquisition was both proper and justified.

“It is for others to judge whether ABP’s actions were justified and why they have now decided to abandon their objections over a year since the Government granted a Development Consent Order for AMEP. For our part we now want to work with all parties in delivering our vision of providing the state-of-the-art facilities for offshore renewable technologies at the largest site available for port-related developments in Europe.

“I would also like to thank the numerous organisations and individuals that have provided their unstinting support of both the project and our company. That support has been critical in securing this consent and we are now in a position to repay their confidence and to move forwards as quickly as possible.”

“With regard to timescales much of the on-site works are now well underway under other planning consents. As far as the quay construction is concerned the extensive environmental safeguards within the Development Consent Order mean that work cannot commence until June next year. This schedule would however provide quays at the beginning of 2018 which accords with the needs of the offshore wind sector as a whole.”

NOTE FOR EDITORS: AMEP is at the centre of the largest Enterprise Zone in the UK which covers both sides of the Humber and as well as attracting around 4,000 local jobs directly, it is widely seen as the catalyst for delivering the Humber-wide vision to create a cluster of renewable energy companies, both large and small.

The decision in December 2013 by the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin to approve the multi-million pound project followed an extensive planning process, which saw detailed scrutiny of all aspects of the development—including measures by the company to develop a £60million package protecting wildlife and the environment.

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