A container port development could service the offshore wind sector, as the head of the project pledges to nurture biodiversity.

The development had blueprints for a new 177-hectare natural habitat and wildlife sanctuary approved to accompany the Bathside Bay port expansion. 

The habitat will be a mixture of estuarine and coastal habitats, including an intertidal mudflat and salt marsh. 

According to Freeport East, the project will deliver an overall biodiversity net gain of 166 per cent. 

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Habitat - The Freeport East project, which could service offshore wind sector, has pledged to

Bathside Bay is one of the company’s key development projects and aims to support hundreds of new green jobs and the local industry. 

It is expected to act as an anchor and example to wider biodiversity and natural capital opportunities to be explored. 

Steve Beel, chief executive of Freeport East, said: “Given the planning processes that most other projects face, Bathside Bay is one of the few new port projects in the UK with the potential to service the offshore wind sector in the coming years. 

“Supporting the UK’s 2050 Net Zero aspirations already makes this a genuinely “green” development. 

“However, we recognise the importance of balancing the demands for new infrastructure and development with protecting and nurturing our local biodiversity, both on land and in the marine environment. 

"The new natural habitat in Little Oakley reinforces Freeport East’s commitment to biodiversity and improving the quality of green spaces whilst enabling the Bathside Bay development which could help the UK attract global investment and reach its offshore wind capacity." 

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

The project secured planning permission from Tendring Council for a new container terminal and phase one started in 2022 on the existing land. 

The next phase will involve reclaiming the bay and constructing a quay wall, resulting in the creation of up to 122 hectares of new portland. 

The news of the approval of the project has environmentalists concerned, as it could threaten the local seal population. 

Neil Marples, a member of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, warned of detrimental effects, saying seal pups could be abandoned amid disturbances. 

Labour councillor Ivan Henderson said the plans ensured the Bathside Bay development was “sustainable”.