MACDONALD RAISES CONCERNS IN PARLIAMENT OVER THREAT TO PORT OF GRANGEMOUTH
Monday, 16 September 2013 08:33
Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald has raised a number of questions in Parliament quizzing Scottish Government Ministers over the proposed Rosyth International Container Terminal which, if approved, could pose a threat to operations at the Port of Grangemouth.
The Falkirk East MSP first asked Ministers a series of questions on the proposals in October 2012 however at that time the Scottish Government was awaiting the report from the Public Local Inquiry and Environmental Impact Assessments.
Forth Ports, operators of the Port of Grangemouth, have raised concerns about the proposal saying the Rosyth terminal is not needed because of overcapacity in the industry.
Angus MacDonald has publicly agreed with Forth Ports view saying:
“With regard to the Rosyth International Container Terminal I share the concerns of Forth Ports and local firms associated with the docks in Grangemouth regarding the threat to Grangemouth operations from the proposed development at Rosyth and have held a number of meetings with Forth Ports officials, including CEO Charles Hammond to discuss the issue in some detail.
“I have also asked a large number of Parliamentary questions on the issue, and await a response from Transport Minister to the most recent ones.
“In addition the Harbour Revision Order for Rosyth is due to be discussed at the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee meeting in Parliament on 25th September, and I have already made my views known to the Convener of that Committee, Maureen Watt MSP.
“There is no doubt in my mind that there is no need for a new container facility on the Forth. The Rosyth International Container Terminal (RICT) could impact detrimentally on the economy in the Grangemouth area and other ports and rail terminals in Scotland, as well as having negative environmental impacts in the Rosyth area and leading to the future requirement for significant sums of public investment in new infrastructure to support its operation. The Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework 2 (NPF2) document already recognises the importance of Grangemouth as Scotland’s main freight distribution centre. I believe the Rosyth proposal could put that at risk..
“It is also clear, as Forth Ports have consistently pointed out, that there is adequate container handling capacity in Scotland for the foreseeable future, without RICT. Scotland does not need to accommodate the world’s largest ships as the population’s needs are served well by frequent calls from smaller ones. The RICT will also only be able to handle ships of the same size as call at Grangemouth and Greenock, in sharp contrast to the information put forward to support its designation in NPF2. New port capacity will not attract new cargo by itself, therefore I believe the whole business proposal for a new container terminal at Rosyth simply does not stack up.”
“It is my view that RICT is not necessary and may affect the economies of the Grangemouth area and Scotland. I also agree that granting the harbour revision order is premature to the conclusion of full environmental assessment including the required dredging, which Forth Ports have pointed out may also expose Scottish Ministers to legal challenge.
“I hope Ministers will think again before they take the final decision on whether the Rosyth container terminal will go ahead or not.”