'QUALITY OF LIFE HAS BEEN SAVED'

Southern Daily Echo – 27 April 2004

According to the Daily Echo’s editorial on Dibden Bay (April 20), the Government has "destroyed the future of Southampton". This hysterical nonsense does not impress us any more than it impressed the Inspector when ABP deployed it at the Inquiry.

He considered that the future of the Port of Southampton would not be put at risk if Dibden Bay were not developed as a container port. He listed the many advantages of Southampton as a port and he realised that the container port plays only a limited role in the vibrant and varied economy of the Solent area.

He was satisfied that ABP had not demonstrated that the new terminal would be commercially viable. He pointed to possible infringements of human rights and definite major damage to the environment of the New Forest. Indeed, he regarded ABP’s environmental impact assessment as so deeply flawed that no reliance could be placed upon it.

We thank all those bodies and individuals who formed the backbone of the campaign to save Dibden Bay which we were privileged to articulate. We also thank the Daily Echo – regardless of its editorial support for the doomed project – for giving generous coverage, especially in its Forest and Waterside edition, to the anti-container port case.

Far from destroying the future of Southampton, this outcome has saved the New Forest from degradation and has preserved the quality of life of Totton and Waterside residents which some people wished ruthlessly to sacrifice.

Dr JULIAN LEWIS MP, New Forest East
PAUL VICKERS, Chairman, Residents Against Dibden Bay Port