Transport Minister Gillian Merron has given final approval to the proposed London Gateway Port at Shellhaven, Thurrock, in the Thames estuary.
The approval comes after P&O (part of Dubai Ports World), the Highways Agency and the Department for Transport agreed a deal on financing upgrades to the local road network A public inquiry was held into the applications for the port and business park, and into a Transport and Works Act Order for rail access, between February and September 2003 under an independent Inspector who reported in 2004. While agreeing with the development in outline the Inspector recommended significant conditions to mitigate the large scale impacts of the development, not least on the area's highway network. The Government agreed broadly with the Inspector's recommendations.These recommendations meant that over £100M needed to be invested in upgrading the A13 and its junction with the M25. Prior to the decision being reached P&O's Thames Gateway team said that it had offered to fund two phases of improvement. Phase one improvements involve upgrading traffic lights on junction 30 of the M25 so that timings can be adjusted in real time according to traffic conditions. This would release enough capacity to let P&O develop between two and three berths at the seven berth port or develop a predefined amount of space at the project's associated business park. Phase two improvements include traffic signing and slip road work to increase the capacity of the A13 east of the M25.The Department for Communities and Local Government is, in addition, today granting planning permission for the adjacent London Gateway logistics and commercial centre and Business Park on the Shellhaven site.