We are delighted that our campaign to get Thanet District Council to conduct a full Environmental Impact Assessment on their plans to expand industrial facilities at Ramsgate Port (600 m from the Pegwell Bay SSSI) has been successful.
TDC has now postponed extending Berths 4/5 (used by Bretts Aggregates) to the new year to allow time for a full Impact Assessment. The campaign was spearheaded by Becky Wing, Green Councillor for Central Harbour. A huge thanks to all our members and to all members of the public who wrote to the Council insisting on a proper assessment.
Here's our full press statement on this issue:
Thanet Green Party welcomes Thanet District Council’s belated acknowledgement that replacing Berths 4/5 at Ramsgate Port will require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), as Thanet Greens and others have argued since this was first proposed.
Sadly, those in charge refused to listen. When TDC made an application to the Marine Management Organisation for these works, a senior officer went so far as to refuse our Central Harbour Ward Councillor sight of it, although the works were in her own ward. The present muddle and confusion are the result of this lack of communication.
We believe full planning, environmental and marine licence permissions should be undertaken before this development can go ahead. Ramsgate Port is only a few hundred metres from the Pegwell Bay Site of Special Scientific Interest, whose delicate balance must not be disturbed.
We understand there are fears that the present Berths 4/5 may fail over this winter. Under the notoriously badly-drafted Bretts contract, TDC rather than Bretts is responsible for replacing the Berths. This being the case, we would have expected a business plan for replacement to have been developed long before now, but this does not seem to have been done. As a result, if the Berths are not useable TDC may now have to cover the cost of Brett Aggregates accessing their site by land – something that clearly could have been avoided with forethought. Any additional cost from the current proposed delay is clearly therefore the responsibility of those who should have planned for the replacement in advance and ensured appropriate processes were followed.
TDC’s change of heart could not have been achieved without the welcome support of Ramsgate KCC Councillors Constantine and Messenger, certain other concerned TDC and RTC Councillors, and all those members of the local community who wrote to TDC to express their concerns about the proposed development proceeding without an Impact Assessment. We are delighted that so many residents, like us, want appropriate process to be followed so our precious environment is protected.
Central Harbour Green Councillor Becky Wing commented:
“We have been working with the community and cross-Party for a long time now on this issue and are pleased that the need to follow due process is at last being recognised. This is not about stopping development or change anywhere in Thanet, but about ensuring change represents real progress, about doing the right thing for people and the environment, and about ensuring Council-taxpayers’ money is spent wisely. It is about putting people and places first. This is not the end of the community’s struggle to be heard and valued by our District Council but the start.”