Examination of Witnesses (Questions 250
WEDNESDAY 3 JULY 2002
250. Good afternoon, gentlemen. Can I welcome
you most warmly and ask you to identify yourselves?
(Captain Chestnutt) I am Captain James Chestnutt.
I am the Harbour Master at Southampton and Marine Adviser to ABP.
(Mr Lerenius) Madam Chairman, I am Bo Lerenius. I
am the Group Chief Executive of ABP.
(Captain Hames) Madam Chairman, I am Captain Paul
Hames, Harbour Master of the Humber Estuary.
251. Thank you. Mr Lerenius, did you want to
say something to begin with?
(Mr Lerenius) No, madam Chairman. I think we are ready
to take the questions.
252. Current planning obligations have been
criticised for being insufficiently transparent, and there is
also a suggestion they are slow, they are unpredictable and, in
some cases, they are unfair, and you have long planning delays.
Would the proposed changes to planning legislation lead to less
comprehensive consideration of planning proposals?
(Mr Lerenius) Are you talking about the proposal put
by Lord Falconer?
253. Generally, because, after all, what happens
in planning is of considerable importance to you and to your members.
(Mr Lerenius) As we said in our submission, and I
repeat, is that overall I think we have a pretty simple view on
this. We obviously respect the procedure that is there and we
have to cope with that. Obviously, also as a socially responsible
company, anything that has to do with the environment we have
to sort out in a socially responsible way. The only thing we are
saying is that if anything we want a simple process, a fair process
and maybe a slightly quicker process than we see today.
254. What effects so far have the existing laws
had on the Dibden Bay proposal?
(Mr Lerenius) Do you mean the effects on time and
255. On the way that you operate.
(Captain Chestnutt) The proposals that were put forward
as the fast track proposals have had no impact whatsoever because
of course they have not been worked through. What we have noticed
is that the public inquiry itself has been run under the guidelines
which came into effect yesterday whereby there is a much more
structured approach and a much more rigid timetable than I think
was hitherto the case. That has undoubtedly benefited the process.
256. So you think that has been quite helpful?
(Captain Chestnutt) Yes, I do.
257. That is interesting. What proportion of
the approximately billion pounds' worth of works to upgrade the
rail network at Southampton, Dibden Bay, would you expect to be
(Captain Chestnutt) You will forgive me if I dispute
the billion in the first instance. First, I do agree with the
SRA that we would need to have some capacity enhancement at Southampton,
not only for Dibden, as you mentioned, but also for the existing
port. That is there and running and flourishing.
258. You agree with them presumably which bits
we are talking about?
(Captain Chestnutt) Yes, in outline. We have done
a tremendous amount of work on this, as you can imagine, and we
have put forward to the inquiry our views on what needs to be
done and our views on what the total cost of that might be.
259. But you are disputing the billion pound
(Captain Chestnutt) We do not agree.