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London Gateway Public Inquiry

Public Inquiries into P&O and Shell’s proposals to regenerate the 1,500 acre former Shell Haven oil refinery on the banks of the River Thames at Thurrock, Essex begin on Tuesday 25th February 2003.

P&O is proposing to develop a world class port and, with its partner Shell, a major Logistics and Commercial Centre. The two schemes, which were first announced in September 2000 and which together could create up to 16,500 new jobs, will help kick start the Government’s ambitious Thames Gateway Regeneration Initiative.

With its two-mile river frontage and extensive industrial hinterland, the Shell Haven site has been used for port and industrial services since the 16th century.  When fully developed, the London Gateway Port will be able to handle 3.5million TEU* a year and will be the closest deep-sea container terminal to London.  It will also provide a roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) facility able to handle two vessels with stern/bow loading.  There is a national need for additional container capacity in the UK and P&O and Shell believe London Gateway is the sustainable option.   It is estimated that the final destination of a quarter of all imported containers into Great Britain is within a 25-mile radius of the Shell Haven site. 

The proposals will also regenerate a brownfield site, in line with Government planning policies. The major employment driver will be the Logistics and Commercial Centre, which is forecast to create up to 14,500 jobs.  It will be one of the leading business locations in the South East providing some 10 million sq. ft of commercial floor space and attracting a range of occupiers from the manufacturing, distribution and hi-tech sectors.

Alistair Baillie, Chief Operating Officer of P&O Ports said, “We are delighted that the Public Inquiries are beginning.  Together with Shell we have carried out extensive consultation with local residents and statutory bodies and a huge amount of work has gone into preparing our submissions. 

“It is an exciting time to be involved in these major projects which are at the heart of the Government’s Thames Gateway Initiative.  Our eventual investment of around £650 million demonstrates our commitment to and confidence in the wider regeneration of this region."

Since the oil refinery ceased production in 1999, Shell has embarked on a £50 million clearance of the site in preparation for its redevelopment.  By the summer of 2003, the site will have been cleared and the clean up completed by the end of 2004.

Andy Winser, Senior Development Manager from Shell Europe added, “This has been one of the largest brownfield site preparation programmes in Europe.  In the past two years Shell has removed 80,000 tonnes of steel yet at the same time less than 5% of the site surface soil has required treatment.

“Shell and P&O remain confident of a successful approval process and look forward to starting work in 2004 as the site preparation is completed.”

Business Group London First has issued its support for the proposals.  Stephen O’Brien, Chairman of London First, said:

“London First believes that the development of a world class port so close to London will reinforce and enhance London’s position as a global gateway and centre of world trade to the national economy.

“The Port and Logistics Centre will be flagship developments on the eastern edge of London and a catalyst for the regeneration of the strategically critical Thames Gateway initiative.”

The Public Inquiries are scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2003.


For more information, contact Wyn Evans on 020 7861 3171 or 07909 974924.

For more information about London First, contact Julia Lalla-Maharajh on 020 7665 1444

Please note that computer illustrations of the proposals are available.

Notes To Editors

  1. The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) and Shell UK Limited (Shell) announced their collaboration in 2000 to develop Shell Haven.
  2. P&O has extensive relevant expertise through P&O Ports which operates 24 container terminals in 15 countries and P&O Developments which has over 25 years experience in developing office, industrial, distribution, leisure and retail space in the UK.
  3. The Shell Haven site is located on the northern bank of the River Thames and close to existing industrial areas such as Tilbury Docks and BP's Coryton refinery.
  4. The proposals for the Port and the Logistics and Commercial Centre are separate and free standing projects in their own right; they could be developed independently or together.
  5. Shell’s existing oil jetty will be relocated to the eastern part of the site to continue the import of aviation fuel and bitumen.
  6. The site is located at the heart of the Government’s Thames Gateway Initiative – one of the Government’s major regeneration priorities.  The Thames Gateway corridor stretches some 40 miles along both sides of the Thames from Canary Wharf in East London to Southend in South Essex and Medway in North Kent. 
  7. London First is a business organisation which aims to improve and promote London, with the support of over 300 of the capital’s major businesses. London First’s business members are in key sectors such as finance, professional services, property, IT, creative, hospitality and retail.  Its membership also includes virtually all of the capital’s higher education institutions as well as further education colleges, NHS Trusts and independent hospitals.
  8. *TEU stands for twenty-foot equivalent unit.  This is the standard size of a container and is a common measure in the container industry.)