‘CONsultation’ on the proposed Port of Tilbury expansion

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On March 6th, the Port of Tilbury will start a pre-planning community consultation into its plans to expand the port using land adjacent to the defunct power station: Port of Tilbury seek views on expansionhttp://www.yourthurrock.com/2017/02/23/port-tilbury-seek-views-expansion/ As you can see from our treatment of the heading to this post, from our experience of the ‘consultation’ into the Lower Thames Crossing that was taking place this time last year, to say we’re cynical about the process is an understatement…

However, the consultation will be going ahead regardless so we would advise everyone to temporarily set aside their cynicism and take part, even if it is just for the experience of having your views about the process confirmed! Looking at the image above, the first question that springs to mind is how the heck will all of the goods and materials coming through the port be transported? Presumably as a bulk materials handling facility appears to be part of the expansion plans, a railhead will be part of the plans. However, it’s inevitable that a considerable chunk of what comes through the port will be transported by road.

As this site is to the east of Tilbury, a new road seems to be pretty much inevitable. That means more noise and air pollution, not to mention the loss of some wildlife habitat. So, if you’re taking part in the consultation, we would strongly advise asking some searching questions about transport links and what plans will be in place to reduce the impact of the extra noise and pollution that the new road links will bring.

This proposal needs to be put into the context of the high levels of air pollution that are affecting large areas of Thurrock: Stanford-le-Hope named as one of ten worst in UK in latest WHO pollution statshttp://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/14489019.Stanford_le_Hope_named_as_one_of_ten_worst_in_UK_in_latest_WHO_pollution_stats/ Are the economic ‘benefits’ supposedly promised by the proposed port expansion worth the price of worsening health for the residents of Thurrock living near to any of the major roads in the area?

Getting away from what can be the mind numbing details of a planning proposal, a more fundamental debate about priorities is needed. Are people really willing to pay the price of more traffic noise, more air pollution and the stress of living with these as well as habitat destruction on the marshes for the supposed economic ‘benefits’ of what will be a largely automated port sucking in imports? Let the debate begin…

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