Thurrock Flexible Generation Plant

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Thurrock Flexible Generation Plant

Received 17 August 2020
From Winckworth Sherwood on behalf of Port of London Authority

Representation

1. The Port of London Authority (“the PLA”) is the statutory harbour authority for the tidal Thames (“the river”). Its statutory functions include responsibility for conservancy, dredging, managing the public navigation and controlling vessel movements. Its consent is required for the construction or carrying out of all works including dredging in the river through powers in the Port of London Act 1968. Most of the bed and foreshore of the river is vested in the PLA. 2. The PLA also has duties under section 48A of the Harbours Act 1964 to have regard to environmental matters and the environmental impact of works for which it has a consenting function. 3. The PLA has no issue with the purpose of the draft Order in itself, but considers there has been inadequate consultation and failure to engage fully on the proposed development insofar as it relates to the river. Details of the PLA’s concerns will be provided in its Written Representations but include the following broad issues. 4. Drafting of the Order and Plans 4.1 The drafting of the Order and the plans submitted with the application fail to clearly indicate what the intentions are regarding the river and its bank. The Works Plans indicate a large Limit of Deviation for works numbers 9 and 10 which the PLA believes to be excessive and to potentially interfere with existing features in the river. Additionally, the limited description of works numbers 9 and 10 gives insufficient certainty to the PLA as to the nature of construction of those works and the scope and extent of any temporary works in the river. 4.2 The PLA is not listed in the Book of Reference but the Land plans, when read with the drafting of the Order, suggest a power to acquire land or rights compulsorily within the river, owned by the PLA, which is a potential breach of the application rules. For the avoidance of doubt, the PLA objects to the permanent acquisition of the river banks or bed for any of the works included within the Order and requires greater clarity on any proposed temporary acquisition and acquisition of rights, given the potential to interfere with the public right of navigation on the river. 4.3 The PLA also has concerns that the Protective Provisions do not properly reflect the scope of controls the PLA needs to exercise to safeguard the river (relating to dredging, potential scour and other issues) as its licensing regime under the Port of London Act 1968 is disapplied by the Order. The Order contains only an implied power to dredge. 4.4 In addition to the matters within the proposed Protective Provisions there will need to be a temporary river works licence for ground investigation works to define the correct dredging design level separate to the DCO process. 5. Causeway 5.1 Although it is supportive of appropriate use of the river for the transportation of materials etc., the PLA has a number of concerns about the causeway design and limited details about its operation (including pollution control plans regarding the operation of cranes and vehicles on it), its permanence; future use and maintenance; interaction with the proposed saltmarsh creation and with other third party works in the vicinity. The PLA considers the assessments and assumptions in the Environment Statement (“ES”) and supporting reports about its construction and operation to lack sufficient detail. 5.2 The PLA is particularly disappointed that no separate Navigational Risk Assessment was submitted with the Application, despite having made clear to the Applicant that one would be required. Appendix D to the Concept Design of Causeway for Delivery of Abnormal Indivisible Loads report is inadequate in this regard. 5.3 The option of removing the causeway does not appear to have been assessed in the ES and there is inadequate information about intentions for the future ownership and maintenance of the causeway. The PLA objects to the causeway being left in the river without certainty that the applicant and any successor has sufficient capacity to meet the long term obligations and liabilities for the maintenance and marking of the causeway. 6. Saltmarsh mitigation and flood defence gate 6.1 The PLA has further concerns in relation to the saltmarsh enhancement design and assumptions made about the creation, retention and long-term monitoring are not adequately addressed in the ES. Insufficient ground investigations have been made to date and there is uncertainty on whether any material will need to be imported to create the saltmarsh and, if so, where it will come from. 6.2 There is also insufficient detail in relation to the construction of the gate in the flood defence wall. If this is to be constructed from the river side of the flood defence, the PLA will require more detail on the proposed processes for doing so. 7. Other 7.1 The PLA will wish to attend specific issue hearings and requests that there be a compulsory acquisition hearing.