Legal challenge to try and block £440m plans labelled ‘spiteful’

PORT operator ABP has announced it is making a last-ditch legal challenge which threatens to delay even further the development of Europe’s largest offshore energy park.

ABP and Able are battling it out over a new £440m marine energy park on the banks of the Humber estuary.

ABP is seeking a judicial review over plans for Able Marine Energy Park, a 900-acre site at North Killingholme with almost 1.3km of deep water quays for the manufacture, assembly, storage and shipping of the next generation of offshore wind turbines to vast new farms in the North Sea.

It claims the process by which plans were approved were “seriously flawed” and says Able’s case for seizing a small triangular piece of land it owns has become weaker with time.

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It comes weeks after objections from ABP to the £440m scheme were thrown out by a committee of peers and MPs.

But Able labelled the move “spiteful” and said the port operator was now “even more isolated than they were from virtually every interest on the Humber.”

ABP says it wants to use the land for a major fuel import facility, the Immingham Western Deepwater Jetty.

It declined interviews but released a statement which said: “Given the fundamental importance of the Triangle site to the Port of Immingham, and Able’s unwillingness to engage in a compromise, ABP has concluded that it has no alternative but to seek a Judicial Review of the Secretary of State’s decision to approve the seizure of ABP’s land and associated waterfront.”

But Able Group development director Neil Etherington said the latest attempt to block the plans flew in the face of the decision of the joint parliamentary committee, the lengthy planning inquiry and the decision of the Secretary of State for Transport.

He said everyone apart from ABP would be hoping it failed: “ABP really are at the last chance saloon and we see their response as being as spiteful as it is desperate and we remain entirely confident that due process, as it has already, will see through their tiresome and vindictive smoke and mirrors.”