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A judgment has been handed down today, 5th February 2024, by Mr Justice Rajah, in the legal case commenced by the South Tees Development Corporation against PD Ports contending that PD Teesport had no rights of access across the Corporation’s land. STDC’s stance was supported by Teesworks Limited who was also a party to the claim. The judgment has found in favour of PD Ports having rights of access in the three key areas of contention, including to South Gare.

Jerry Hopkinson, Executive Chairman at PD Ports, commented: “The outcome of today’s ruling, which has seen PD Ports secure ongoing rights of access to South Gare and Redcar Bulk Terminal, and a right of access from Tees Dock across South Bank is a vindication of our defence of our long-held rights and the weight of evidence in our favour.

Whilst we are naturally pleased at the outcome, we are very disappointed that this legal action was ever considered necessary by the South Tees Development Corporation and Teesworks.

“Despite PD Ports’ desire to resolve the matter outside the courtroom, South Tees Development Corporation and Teesworks persisted with legal action that has resulted in no net gain for either side, at a cost of several million pounds for all parties, including the taxpayer, as well as considerable damage to our region’s reputation.”

Frans Calje, Chief Executive Officer, said: “From the outset PD Ports has tried to assist the South Tees Development Corporation’s aims for development over its land while protecting our historically held rights at no cost to South Tees Development Corporation.

This is consistent with PD Ports’ role as the Statutory Harbour Authority for the River Tees. As the judgment notes the Victorian predecessor of PD Ports served the local community reclaiming land for industrial use in the 1800s, and we are firmly committed to continue working with partners and stakeholders across the region in the present day to drive investment, create high-quality jobs and support efforts to improve social mobility and the welfare of our communities.

Jerry Hopkinson concluded: “Since the 19th Century PD Ports and its direct predecessors have built a foundation for the industrial development that has provided opportunity, jobs and prospect along the River Tees and in the wider North East of the UK. We will now move on, with this unnecessary distraction behind us, and look to the future, working with partners across Teesside and beyond, for the good of the Tees Valley and its people.”

Should you wish to read the judgment in full then this can be obtained from The National Archives (https://caselaw.nationalarchives.gov.uk).

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