March 4 - Associated British Ports (ABP) has petitioned against the decision by the British transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, to grant a Development Consent Order for the Able Marine Energy Park (AMEP), to the dismay of the park developer, ABLE, an
According to Able Group's development director, Neil Etherington, moves by ABP to use a Special Parliamentary Procedure (SPP) to block the 900 acre development - which will provide state-of-the-art quayside facilities for the manufacture, assembly and installation of offshore renewable technologies at Able Humber Port - will cause "dismay and disbelief across the region", particularly for the thousands that will see job hopes dashed, and for the those within the government with ambitions of making the UK a centre of excellence for renewable energies.
Etherington added: "However much ABP attempt to 'spin' matters with talk of 'compromise' they know that their actions pose a serious threat to arguably the most important development in the area for decades.
"The reality is that, if they were to succeed and overturn or alter the Secretary of State's approval for AMEP, they would be responsible for blocking a project which offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the economy of the entire region and provide the catalyst to make the Humber a world-class centre for renewable energy technology."
The compromise put forward by ABP is that a reduction in the quay length should be made at the proposed AMEP, in order to avoid including an area called the Killingholme triangle - an area of land owned by ABP.
ABP says that it has been working with Able to identify ways in which it can develop its own Immingham Western Deepwater Jetty (IWDJ) project - a new quay - alongside Able's AMEP without damaging the job creation opportunities and other benefits that each can bring to the region.
An ABP statement read: "ABP, supported by its professional advisers, believes that such a solution is eminently achievable and that the joint use of the Special Parliamentary Procedure by both ABP and Able to amend the consent is the most efficient way of delivering the maximum benefit to the region. Thus far, however, we have been unable to reach agreement with Able on this approach but we intend to continue to work towards a solution."
However, North Lincolnshire County Council is strongly objecting to the moves made by ABP, stating that the IWDJ project would provide fewer jobs and almost certainly kill off the "once in a lifetime opportunity" presented by Able's development.
Marcus Walker, head of planning and regeneration at North Lincolnshire Council, said: "The Able Marine Energy Park will transform the economy of the entire Humber region. It is set to become the largest offshore wind park in Europe. It will create more than 4,000 jobs and has the potential to deliver economic prosperity across Northern Lincolnshire and beyond for decades to come.
"By comparison, the ABP proposal for a jetty would provide few new jobs but would almost certainly kill off the Able Marine Energy Park proposals. The Secretary of State for Transport has already fully considered and rejected the ABP proposals when he granted the Development Consent Order and it is hoped that we can now start to create the construction jobs for the new Able Marine Energy Park and get on with development as quickly as possible."
Etherington questioned the strategy undertaken by its rival: "The tactics which ABP have now embarked upon, the so-called Special Parliamentary Procedure (SPP), will cause a lengthy and potentially damaging delay to the plans for South Humber Bank," he stated. "At worst, if they were to succeed in significantly changing the Government's Development Consent Order, it would put the entire project at risk. There is a further irony in that Government has now abolished SPP and AMEP is the final project that has to confront this form of opposition."