Peel Ports tackles expansion concerns

Peel Ports has set up six working groups to address sticking points in its 20-year master plan including increased opening of the swing bridge over the Ship canal in Warrington and expansion of Seaforth docks onto the nature reserve to the north.

A 13-week consultation on the latest draft plan closed in September and the port operator, 51% owned by Peel Group and 49% by German fund RREEF, has finished collating the rersponses. There were nearly 300 responses received from a mixture of interest groups and statutory bodies as well as local residents during the consultation, which included events around the region and meetings with councils, MPs and special interest groups.

The six working groups will address the following issues:

  • Planned development of Seaforth Nature Reserve
  • Additional port traffic upon the local highway network
  • Mitigating environmental impacts upon nearby residential areas
  • Planned port expansion near Eastham Village
  • Increased opening of the swing bridges on the Manchester Ship Canal at Warrington
  • Opportunity for local jobs, training and skills, and procurement

The 20-year framework will detail Peel Ports Mersey's growth strategy and predicted volume forecasts up to 2030 which the company said could see a 70% growth in tonnage handled and create up to 8,000 jobs.

Gary Hodgson, Peel Ports Mersey's managing director, said: "We are encouraged by the level of interest in the master plan and by the overall support to our strategy from both our partners and from the general public, but we are taking nothing for granted. Following the consultation we have identified areas of concern, and we will now consider these in more detail. We are fully committed to continuing to work in partnership with both public agencies and organisations and the people who live in the communities where we operate to ensure maximum gain for the North West Region from our growth and development strategy – which we believe will be substantial."

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