Lake Lothing Third Crossing

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Lake Lothing Third Crossing

Received 24 September 2018
From Clyde & Co LLP on behalf of Associated British Ports


Associated British Ports (ABP) is the owner and operator of the Port of Lowestoft and as such, the Statutory Port Undertaker. It is also Statutory Harbour Authority and the Competent Harbour Authority.

For the assistance of the ExA, ABP’s position is that whilst it does not object to the principle of a third crossing over Lake Lothing, it does object to the proposed location of the new bridge, which if approved by the Secretary of State, will act to the serious detriment of ABP in terms of both existing and future port operations.

ABP's relevant representations, therefore, are in summary, as follows:

1. DCO Submission

1.1 The ExA will have seen ABP's correspondence with PINS concerning the validation of the LLTC application. ABP remains of the view that the applicant has failed to comply with the requirements of the PA 2008 in terms of meaningful consultation and negotiation. This has led to the submission of an ES that is inadequate, misleading and legally deficient in terms of the requirements of the EIA Regulations.

2. Environmental Statement

2.1 In ABP’s view, the PEIR published by the applicant was incomplete and deficient, failing properly to describe the LLTC scheme and assess its impact on the Port.

2.2 Despite advice given by PINS in their Scoping Opinion, issues that should have been assessed in the PEIR were not assessed – and the fundamental deficiencies apparent in the PEIR have been perpetuated in the ES. The applicant has: -
(a) Failed to assess “the direct and indirect significant effects of the proposed development”;
(b) Failed to provide an adequate and meaningful baseline scenario in relation to the Port;
(c) Failed to include an outline of the likely evolution of the Port in a no development scenario;
(d) Failed to undertake an adequate assessment of alternatives;
(e) Ignored the future development of the Port, despite the very clear aspirations of ABP, the Local Planning Authority (Waveney District Council), the applicant (Suffolk County Council) itself and indeed, the SoS in his section 35 Direction where he recognises "the Port of Lowestoft's role in being the hub for the off-shore wind farms that are part of the East Anglia Array, a major energy supplier for the UK";
(f) Failed to explain and justify its assessment methodology;
(g) Failed to explain how the scheme will be operated which of itself, raises the question as to what actually has been assessed; and
(h) Failed to provide a properly and correctly formulated Navigation Risk Assessment.

2.3 In view of the short timescale afforded by the applicant, ABP is still reviewing the ES and will expand on the above points and others arising at the appropriate time.

3. Development Consent Order

3.1 As promoted, the DCO is both legally deficient and unacceptable in port operational terms. The applicant has failed to take into account: -
(a) The seriously detrimental impact that its scheme will have on ABP's day to day operations;
(b) The ability of ABP to operate, manage and regulate the Port in terms of its bye-laws;
(c) ABP's future operations; and
(d) ABP's need to comply with its statutory duties and obligations, including those as SHA, the ISPS Code and ABP's statutory obligation to ensure the safety of navigation and protection of people, vessels and the environment.

3.2 ABP will require a comprehensive indemnity against the risks and hazards that the applicant, by constructing the LLTC, will introduce to the Port. The current indemnity is inadequate.

4. Compulsory Acquisition

4.1 The compulsory acquisition of land and rights within ABP’s statutory port estate will act to the serious detriment of the port undertaking, leading directly to:
(a) The loss of existing berth space within the Port's Inner Harbour;
(b) A detrimental impact on existing Port operations to the east of the LLTC;
(c) The loss of port utility to the west of the proposed LLTC;
(d) The need for an emergency berth to the east of the LLTC within the Inner Harbour;
(e) The bisection of the Inner Harbour, damaging ABP's ability to secure further business from the offshore wind sector; and
(f) The consequent prospect of the deflection of future business from the Port – not just offshore wind, but including aggregates, agri-bulks, general cargos, offshore oil and gas – to competitor ports.

5. Mitigation

5.1 ABP has convened workshop meetings with the applicant at which it has raised the question, amongst others, of mitigation. If the applicant wishes to mitigate the serious detriment that its scheme will cause, as it is the applicant who is proposing to introduce a hazard, namely the LLTC, into the Port – it is for the applicant to promote the necessary mitigation which must encompass a series of measures, including the loss to compulsory acquisition of operational berth space and the provision of an emergency berth, without which the Port may be faced with in perpetuity with safety issues which go to ABP's long-term ability to operate the Inner Harbour.

6. Serious Detriment

6.1 The LLTC Scheme as currently promoted will, without adequate and satisfactory mitigation, act to the “serious detriment” of ABP as statutory port undertaker. The SoS will not be in a position, unless the scheme is suitably modified and mitigated, to authorise the compulsory acquisition of the land required for the scheme.

7. The Secretary of State

7.1 A formal representation will be submitted to the SoS to this effect under section 127 of the PA 2008.