EC approves UK public financing of harbour
Brussels, Belgium – The European Commission has decided on 21 december 2005 to authorise a financing package that allows a number of public authorities in the East of England to partially finance the construction of maritime access infrastructure (breakwaters) to allow for the future development of the Outer harbour at Great Yarmouth. The Commission considers that the activity of ensuring adequate and safe access to and from the port does not constitute an economic activity liable to distort competition between Member States but is rather a public task in the general interest benefiting the Union as a whole.
It is the intention of the U.K. authorities that the development of the outer harbour be implemented through a public-private partnership (â€œPPPâ€), with part of the financing coming from the public sector. The public funding from state resources is approximately Â£13.425 million (â‚¬19.5 million) coming from the East of England Development Authority, Norfolk County Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Additionally the sum of Â£4.575 million (â‚¬6.78m) of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has been applied for financing under Objective 2. This is the subject of a separate Major Project Notification to the European Commission.
After examining the financing measures in light of the EU rules on State aid, the Commission has concluded that the public financing made available for the maritime access routes and sea-locks does not constitute State aid.