Ports giant and developer to battle it out over £440m plan

PORTS giant ABP and rival developers Able remain at loggerheads ahead of a parliamentary hearing today into ABP’s objections to a £440m marine energy park on the Humber.

The scheme, billed as Europe’s biggest offshore wind manufacturing facility, has faced further delay after ABP objected to the compulsory order of 13 acres of its land.

Today a committee of MPs and peers will start hearing evidence from ABP and Able who have claimed any changes will deal their scheme - and over 4,000 potential jobs - “a potentially disastrous blow.”

ABP wants to use the triangular piece of land for a deepwater jetty and says it will leave Able with 1km of quay to develop “which will easily service the market for offshore wind and would still be the longest single stretch of quay anywhere on the Humber.”

Both parties have met several times at the request of the committee’s chairman but Able had been “not prepared to entertain the compromise,” said port director John Fitzgerald.

It comes days after German utility RWE Innogy announced it was shelving the 340MW Galloper offshore wind farm off East Anglia. Mr Fitzgerald said: “Our evidence is that the market is contracting, there’s no doubt about it, you only have to look at the number of schemes that have fallen off the radar. In a market which is changing you have to change your plans and that’s all we are suggesting Able do.” However Able, which received a £15m Enterprise Zone grant earlier this year to start enabling works to make the site “investor ready”, has insisted it is “in full or nothing.”