Southern Daily Echo – 8 February 2000
When Paul Vickers, chairman of Residents Against Dibden Bay Port, and I suggested that Shell Haven in Essex would be far more suitable for a container port than Dibden Bay, Captain Jimmy Chestnutt of Associated British Ports sought to dismiss this.
He did so in a letter to institutional investors. Shell Haven's deep water facilities are, he said, "tidally constrained" and "a large dredge would be required to provide the same operational window as is currently available in Southampton".
Permission for such a dredge, he claimed, would not be a simple matter. Captain Chestnutt also referred unfavourably to London's congested road and rail networks, including the M25, by contrast to those allegedly available for Dibden Bay.
Now that P&O has announced its plans for a huge container port to be built at Shell Haven, Captain Chestnutt blithely observes that "nothing has changed and we will be pressing ahead with our scheme for Dibden Bay (Echo, January 29).
Since Captain Chestnutt has been proven to be completely wrong over the practicability of a container port at Shell Haven, why should anyone credit his judgement on any aspect of the Dibden Bay controversy in the future?
Dr JULIAN LEWIS MP