United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Legal path cleared for UK offshore terminal

UK: A struggle over the rights to develop an offshore maintenance terminal on the banks of the Humber River in north-east England has come to a close.

Associated British Ports (ABP) has agreed to halt its legal battle to prevent Able Marine from developing 906 acres (3.7 square kilometres) on the Humber's south bank. The area is to be made available to offshore wind developers for storage, assembly and installation purposes.

The terminal, dubbed the Able Marine Energy Park (AMEP), was originally picked by Austrian construction company Strabag in December 2013 as its preferred location to produce gravity-based foundations. To help end the dispute with ABP, the UK government indicated that it was in favour of the development plans.

AMEP is in one of the UK's largest enterprise zones; businesses are offered incentives to locate in the zones. However, it ran into opposition from ABP, coincidentally the company developing Siemens' EUR420 million manufacturing and assembly hub across the river in Hull.

Compulsory purchase

In essence, the development relied on the government's granting a development consent order allowing AMEP the right to compulsorily buy land owned by ABP.

The fight centred around the Killingholme Triangle site and the area of land that ABP wanted to turn into the Immingham Western Deepwater Jetty, a fuel terminal. ABP's efforts to halt AMEP revolved around environmental concerns, technical assessments and the case for the compulsory acquisition. AMEP rejected an ABP compromise deal under which both parties would have reduced the size of their proposed quays.

As a result, AMEP has been forced to clear a number of hurdles in the permitting process. Early last year, a special parliamentary committee was formed to examine ABP's case for denying a consent order. This held the project up until October, when the MPs rejected ABP's attempt and allowed the order to proceed unamended.

ABP took its case to the High Court, where it was rejected by a judge earlier this year, who described ABP's claim as unarguable.

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