Parliamentary committee upholds Humber marine energy park consent

A special parliamentary committee has blocked an objection by a landowner to proposals for a new port on the Humber serving the offshore wind industry.

The Humber Estuary
The Humber Estuary

Able UK was granted a development consent order to build the Able Marine Energy Park by transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin in December last year. 

The application was considered by the Planning Inspectorate under the fast-track planning regime for major infrastructure.

The project, at at Killingholme, North Lincolnshire, would be designed specifically for the manufacture, storage, assembly and deployment of offshore wind farms off the North East coast.

The 327-hectare energy park would also comprise a new 1.3km-long quay. 

But the project involves the compulsory purchase of a piece of land owned known as the Killingholme triangle, which is owned by Associated British Ports (ABP). 

The government approved this, but ABP lodged an objected in April because it wants to build a jetty in the same location.

Today, a joint parliamentary committee, involving members of both houses, announced in a statement that after hearing the petitioner's case, it had decided that the applicant "did not have a case to answer".

It added that a report would be made shortly "and the order will then come into force".

Applicant Able UK application's for development consent was submitted in December 2011 and accepted for examination in January 2012.

ABP had proposed a compromise whereby AMEP reduces the length of its quay in order to avoid the Killingholme triangle. However, the piece of land is key to the project, Able claimed.

An ABP spokesman said: "We are disappointed that the Parliamentary Joint Committee reached its decision without fully examining all of the evidence. 

"The decision has no impact on ABP's view of the strength of its case and our offer of a substantial compromise would have enabled AMEP to proceed without hindering the future development of the Port of Immingham.  

"We will now consider our options." 

Able UK's executive chairman, Peter Stephenson, said in a statement that the decision was "brilliant news".

He said: "After a lengthy, detailed and costly planning process we gained approval from the Planning Inspectorate and then received the backing of the government which made it very disappointing and frustrating that ABP chose to continue its efforts to block a development which really does offer a once-in-lifetime opportunity to transform the economy of the region, provide the catalyst to make the Humber a world-class ‘Energy Estuary’ and put the UK at the forefront of the renewable energy industries.

"If ABP had succeeded in its efforts to significantly reduce the size of the quays planned for AMEP, it would have made the development no longer economically viable and we would have had no option but to abandon it.

"Regrettably ABP’s tactics have meant a further delay of almost a year."

Stephenson said he hoped ABP would now "step back from any further attempts to delay".

NOTE: this story was amended at 5.30pm on Thursday October 23 to add a comment by Able UK.

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