Was Grayling right to approve a major port terminal on 'unique brownfield habitat'?

At the end of last month, transport secretary Chris Grayling announced that he had given the green light to plans for a new port terminal on the site of the former Tilbury Power Station in Essex on the north bank of the Thames. The project, known as Tilbury2, will see the existing port, owned by Forth Ports Group, grow significantly.

The application for the development was made via the Planning Act 2008 regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects. Consequently, Grayling was acting on the recommendation of a panel of Planning Inspectorate (PINS) inspectors, which was responsible for scrutinising the application, when he made the decision to grant the development consent order (DCO).

The inspectors said they had considered the fact that the cumulative impact of the new port and several other likely developments in the area, including the Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) and Tilbury Energy Centre (TEC), as well as the Thurrock Flexible Generation Plant, had been considered. However, they concluded the impacts were too uncertain to be reason to refuse permission for the port. Grayling agreed.

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