Thursday, May 31, 2007


At last the government has decided on the Shellhaven port at Thurrock in Essex. Dubai ports wanted to bring £1.5Bn of investment to turn a disused refinery into a container terminal, with much associated commercial space. As you might expect, there was a lengthy planning process and much local activism, then the whole thing disappeared into the government machine, and everyone else waited, and waited, and waited. Now the news has come, the smoke from the chimney is white, and there will be a port.

To be fair, serious decisions do take time, especially when they have the potential to affect such a large community. A port will alter the area in ways that are difficult to determine, and it should be noted that towns with ports are often defined by those ports. It's just that this has taken such a long time, nearly 7 years from first announcement, that most of the locals will greet the news with something approaching exhaustion, no matter if they are in favour or against.

The recent Planning White Paper suggests that large infrastructure projects need to be decided quicker. Ironic, when you consider where most of the time is actually spent.

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