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Ship recycling company court case battle comes to an end

A Teesside-based ship recycling company has been granted permission to dismantle and recycle four corroding ships after a four-year battle. Able UK has been given the go-ahead by Hartlepool Borough Council on the condition that the work is monitored 24 hours a day. Chief Executive Peter Stephenson said: Now we have been granted the permission that we had been granted four years ago by the council. The four year battle has been bureaucracy gone mad. "A judge ruled four years ago that the ships were not defined as a marine structure and so we could not recycle them. To this day the industry has been wondering why the judge did this. According to Able UK, their Teeside Environmental Reclamation and Recycling (TERRC) facility is the largest in the world. The facility is based at Seaton Port, Graythorp and receives ships from all over the world and recycles them. Friends of the Earth brought the action against Able UK stating that lethal toxins would be released into the environment because of the companys dredging programme. It claims that when the Seaton Channel is dredged to provide movement for the ships, toxic substances from the bottom of the channel would be released causing harm to the environment. Stephenson dismissed these claims: Friends of the Earth have just been scaremongering and acting as puppets for activists in the US misleading people in the process. However, Friends of the Earth planning co-ordinator Tom Pickin describes Able UKs allegations as ludicrous. He said: We have successfully showed in court that Able UK has brought in these ships illegally. "There are short falls in the recent public inquiry that overlooks the environmental impact of the toxic substances that could be released from the channel. More than 100 ships are waiting to come to Hartlepool from the US and the environmental impact of this movement is going to be felt for decades. The US should be disposing of its own toxic waste and not doing it in Hartlepool. Pickin goes on to state that a facility such as TERRC should be given a proper environmental assessment so that the UK can properly dispose its own ships. Image: TERRC Aerial showing 4 ships

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