February 9 - Associated British Ports (ABP) has decided to abandon its attempts to challenge the government's approval of plans for the development of the Able Marine Energy Park on the south bank of the Humber.

HLPFI reported on February 3 that ABP's latest attempt to block the AMEP by seeking a judicial review had been rejected by the court.

In reaction to ABP's decision not to pursue the matter further, Able UK executive chairman Peter Stephenson said: "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."

Despite being made "well over a year later than it need have been", Stephenson welcomed the decision, adding: "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."

He went on to explain that it was not a case of Able seeking the "seizure" of the small area of land needed for the AMEP development, but 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," Stephenson added.

Thanking the numerous organisations and individuals that provided support for the project, Stephenson explained that Able now hopes to move forward with the park 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," he concluded.