Transport minister Gilligan Merron approves plans for port which will see 16,500 jobs created in area

Plans the regeneration of the Thames Gateway took a major step forward yesterday following final approval for the area’s biggest employment project.

Thames Gateway Port

Transport minister Gillian Merron announced that final approval has been granted to Dubai Ports World, for the £1.5bn London Gateway Port project at Shellhaven, Thurrock.

DPW has agreed with the area’s council and development corporation a funding package to upgrade of the surrounding area’s road network, which will have to cope with extra congestion following the construction of the port. This includes work to the A13 and the nearby junction 30 of the M25.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has also granted planning permission for the linked London Gateway logistics and commercial centre on the 1500 acre Shellhaven site, which is a former Shell oil refinery.

The London Gateway port will have seven deep water container vessel berths and a ‘ro-ro’ facility along 2.7km of quayside. The logistics and commercial centre will the UK’s biggest business park, containing 10 m sq ft of warehouses, research and development and offices on the rest of the site. The entire project is expected to generate up to 16,500 jobs, making it one of the prime sources of employment growth in the gateway.

Merron said "This substantial development has the potential to provide many new jobs in the Thames Gateway Growth Area - already one of the government's priority growth areas in England - including a possible 1,900 jobs which the promoters forecast for the port alone.

Niall Lindsay, chief executive of the Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, said: "We are particularly pleased that our work in support of the London Gateway project has resulted in a positive decision. The proposals for a world-class port facility together with the UK’s largest logistics and business park will ensure that Thurrock capitalises on the full range of regeneration opportunities afforded by this exceptional development. We look forward to continuing our work with DP World on this project which is one of the top five largest physical regeneration schemes in the country."

The government said it was minded to approve the London Gateway project two years ago, since when the corporation, council and Highways Agency have been negotiating with DPW on improvements to the road access. P&O, which was recently bought by DPW, and Shell submitted the application for the port in 2002.