The Dibden Bay Inquiry - A year of debate...

Day 1: About 350 people turn out and hear Southampton City Council throw its weight behind the new container terminal. New Forest and Hampshire councils' QC Richard Drabble warns of the impact on local communities.

Day 2: Opposition is voiced by environmental groups, including the environment Agency and English Heritage, and British Army. Defence Estates fearing problems on the roads and railways.

Day 3: The inquiry moves out of Applemore Recreation Ground amid representations that houses will lose value.

Day 4: Inquiry switches to the former Stena Sealink ferry terminal in Southampton's Eastern Docks. Coastal planning expert Martin Hendry says Dibden Bay is one of the few suitable sites in the country for a new container terminal.

Day 5: Concern is raised at dust clouds billowing from the approach roads to the proposed development. The inquiry hears that some of the materials for the work would be delivered by boat.

Day 6: ABP bosses say they can make a profit even though the project would cost £600m.

Day 7: ABP repeats its commitment to the current Southampton terminal.

Day 8: The inquiry hears the development will involve massive earthworks on land immediately to the north of Hythe Marina.

Day 9: A planning consultant claims land between Hythe and Marchwood has been earmarked for port development for more than a half-a-century and planning policies have been based on the expectation it may accommodate port uses.

Day 10: Southampton's big ship business is vital to the prosperity of other ports around the south, the inquiry hears.

Day 11: Hampshire's top planning officer hits out at the proposals. Tim Greenwood, from the county council, says the scheme would have an adverse impact on the New Forest Heritage Area.

Day 12: A leading critic warns the plans would "degrade" Hythe Marina Village. On behalf of Hythe Marina Association John Trustram Eve says waterfront homes would be hit by noise and light pollution.

Day 13: Environmentalists say the new container port is not vital to economic prosperity of Southampton. Julie Astin, of Friends of the Earth, claims ABP were putting shareholders' interests and company profits first.

Day 14: Claims are made the new terminal could destroy salmon stocks in the River Test. David Jordan, from the Environment Agency, says: "The River Test and River Itchen salmon stocks are genetically unique and irreplaceable."

Day 15: ABP says the new dock is vital to the future port polices of the UK.

Day 16: Port bosses hit back at suggestions they only want to build the new terminal at Dibden Bay so they can sell off their existing one.

Day 17: shipping expert Mike Garratt describes Dibden Bay as the ideal location for a new container terminal. He stresses the economic need for a deep-water port on the south coast due to a rapid rise in the number of container movements..

Day 18: Mike Garratt presses the need for a new port, he lists rail capacity and its location as among the plus points in favour of Dibden.

Day 19: An employment expert claims more than 2,000 full-time jobs will be created if the container terminal is given the go-ahead.

Day 20: Today sees the first day that not a single member of the public turns up. Southampton City Council warns the region's economy could go into decline if the new port is not approved.

Day 21: Shipping expert Andrew Penfold, speaking for Hampshire County Council, says ABP has failed to prove the need for an additional terminal to be built on the shores of Southampton Water.

Day 22: The inquiry hears the estimated costs of building the new container dock have soared. Forecasters quoted the project at £738m.

Day 23: A key witness is accused of leaving vital information out of his previous days' evidence. Economics and planning consultant Paul Whitehouse, on behalf of the county council and New Forest District Council, had outlined a picture of a buoyant economy without Dibden Bay. ABP's counsel Martin Kingston claimed he had omitted stark warnings from a report he had referred to by the South East England Development Agency.

Day 24: Residents' leader Paul Vickers says the UK did not need a new port facility for several years and that better sites could be on offer in the future. Mr Vickers, chairman of Residents Against Dibden Day Port, said it was wrong to sacrifice Dibden Bay.

Day 25: The inquiry hears south Hampshire can manage without the new jobs created by a new port - and also do without thousands of extra vehicles clogging up its roads.

Day 26: ABP's planning expert Martin Hendry claims the future prosperity of Southampton Docks is at stake. He hits out at the alternative solutions put forward by opponents, who claim it could be built elsewhere.

Day 27: The hearing is told Public Inquiries into two other port plans, one at Harwich and one at the Thames Estuary could be well under way before a decision is taken on whether the new development at Dibden Bay can go ahead.

Day 28: Port bosses reject claims they could meet increasing demand by making better use of the existing docks and warned jobs were at stake.

Day 29: Shipping expert Mike Garratt says Dibden Bay offers a tailor-made solution a need for port space and that the Thames Estuary and Harwich, Essex, did not match up to the Hampshire site.

Day 30: Hampshire planning boss Tony Cook claims other more suitable alternatives to Dibden Bay were emerging and must be considered. But shipping expert Mike Garratt claims ABP's decision to invest in Southampton has been made with a "thorough understanding of the city's need and wider potential".

Day 31: County council project manager Tony Cook agrees that none of the other potential port schemes in the country had all the necessary official approvals they needed to enable them to go ahead.

Day 32: Former Hampshire planning officer Gerald Smart warns the new port would cause more environmental damage than any of the UK's other new dock schemes.

Day 33: The inquiry is told dredging will be carried out if the terminal plan is approved. Civil engineer Ian Townend says it would provide a new and improved mudflat.

Day 34: Ian Townend tells the hearing that efforts would be made to prevent vital creeks through the marshes alongside Southampton Water from becoming clogged by silt.

Day 35: Ian Townend says ABP has adequately addressed the issue of sedimentation with both Marchwood Military Port and RAF Hythe.

Day 36: Disagreements continue over the dredging plans and how it will effect surrounding areas.

Day 37: Coastal science expert Professor John Pethick hits out at the plans to dredge Dibden Bay and dump the mud on part of the foreshore saying ecologically important sites would deterioriate.

Day 38: Coastal experts warn the massive project to deliver an alternative safe haven for displaced wildlife could end up smothering them in mud.

Day 39: Fears resurface again that the huge project to create the new haven for wildlife would end up destroying the environment.

Day 40: ABP claims the controversial scheme to dredge Dibden Bay and dump huge amounts of mud on the foreshore near Hythe will benefit the environment.

Day 41: The inquiry hears how dredging could send muddy water into homes in the Hythe area and silt could clog up one of the areas most picturesque creeks at Ashlett.

Day 42: Flora and fauna comes under the microscope after a three-week Easter break. ABP's ecology expert Philip Colebourn says Dibden Bay had been made to look more important as a wildlife haven than it really was.

Day 43: English Nature warns the new deep-sea dock would "finish" vital habitats for thousands of birds.

Day 44: English Nature barrister Graham Machin warns again birds' habitats would be under threat. But ABP's wildlife expert Philip Colebourn claims in the long term the birds would move to new grounds.

Day 45: Sea birds are put off feeding on the foreshore near Fawley because of poisonous chemicals and Esso is looking to improve the situation.

Day 46: The inquiry hears Hampshire's top spot for wading birds could be the Hythe to Cadland foreshore if the development goes ahead. Philip Colebourn claims the new layer of silt created by the dredged mud would be a bonus for wildlife.

Day 47: Port bosses come under fire for failing to find out how the food for birdlife will be affected if they build the new dock.

Day 48: Claims are made the container terminal could contribute to a sharp decline in the number of lapwings. which feed on crop-eating insects.

Day 49: ABP claims it has done its best to plan new homes for the wildlife evicted if the scheme goes ahead.

Day 50: It emerges Southampton City Council wants more nature safeguards than ABP was putting up.

Day 51: English Nature's David Tyldesley says ABP has failed to follow nature conservation regulations and Dibden Bay is part of, or near to, seven conservation sites of international status.

Day 52: English Nature criticises ABP of under-estimating Dibden Bay's importance to the local bird population. It also hits out at the plans to dredge the area and dump mud.

Day 53: ABP's plans to lessen the blow on the wildlife of Dibden Bay from the proposed terminal is branded as "too little, too late" by English Nature.

Day 54: English Nature's leading bird expert Allan Drewitt says: "You can't just remove a part of a delicate system and expect it to function as before."

Day 55: English Nature warns wildlife sites will devastated. It claims the scheme would have adverse effects between the Lower Test Valley and the Upper Hamble Estuary affecting salmon.

Day 56: Ornithologist Dr Tony Prater, for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, says six different species will suffer.

Day 57: Otters, great crested newts and pipistrelle bats could all suffer say the Environment Agency which also criticises ABP's environmental statement as being "seriously deficient".

Day 58: Hampshire County Council claims woodland dating back thousands of years would be wiped out if the terminal is built.

Day 59: Professor Gerald Smart, of The Solent Protection Society, says: "The ecological value of the Southampton Water area is almost unique in south England."

Day 60: ABP says stopping dredging work for four months of the year to avoid damaging salmon stocks would cost millions of pounds.

Day 61: The Environment Agency pours scorn on the £250,000 fund set aside by ABP to help save local fish stocks.

Day 62: Shirley Sea Angling Club chairman Bob Patterson warns Southampton's anglers would be left with nowhere to fish if the development goes ahead.

Day 63: The inquiry hears salmon could become extinct on Hampshire's two main rivers if the scheme is approved.

Day 64: The threat of an extra 4,700 vehicles a day on the country lanes of Marchwood and Dibden is put under the microscope.

Day 65: ABP transport expert David Tucker concedes there would be delays on the busy Marchwood Bypass but points out the present terminal was working towards reducing the number of lorries arriving at peak traffic times.

Day 66: ABP is quizzed whether its proposed upgrading of the A326 would be sufficient to handle the forecast traffic increases.

Day 67: Concern is raised at how long train level crossings would close for.

Day 68: Brief legal arguments before the hearing is adjourned for 24 hours.

Day 69: A major breakthrough is revealed over the traffic issues after talks between the county council and ABP. Plans are revealed to turn the A326 into a four-lane highway.

Day 70: The Strategic Rail Authority says it has no preference for the Dibden Bay scheme over rival container port proposals.

Day 71: County council train expert Jeremy Thorne slams ABP's plans for rail access branding them as "unrealistic, unproven, insufficient, impractical, questionable".

Day 72: Totton campaigners raise the stakes in their demands for compensation if the new dock goes ahead. New Forest councillor Bill Catt suggests £10m a year would compensate the town.

Day 73: Council and environmental groups warn the scheme would have a major knock-on effect on roads throughout Hampshire and Wiltshire.

Day 74: An air quality expert says there is no reason for objectors to worry over possible dust pollution.

Day 75: ABP landscape expert Martin Kelly says Dibden Bay is flat, featureless and unremarkable and does not deserve to be in the proposed New Forest National Park.

Day 76: ABP tries to persuade the inquiry that the huge container terminal would not look as imposing as many people fear.

Day 77: ABP's landscaping consultant Martin Kelly concedes there would be a "substantial and adverse" visual impact for people living near the proposed terminal.

Day 78: Arguments continue over the proposed development's visual impact.

Day 79: Fears are raised the development will destroy the character of Southampton Water.

Day 80: New Forest District Council is accused of putting the very maximum emphasis on the impact of Dibden Bay on its surrounding landscape.

Day 81: The inquiry hears powerful floodlights at the six-berth terminal would double the amount of artificial lighting in the area.

Day 82: Claims are made Southampton's high rise office blocks would be less attractive to work in if their views of the New Forest were "obliterated".

Day 83: Inquiry inspector Michael Hurley is urged to go to Hythe himself and see what the effect of the container port would be and not just rely on computerised images.

Day 84: Southampton City Council is accused of pumping a fortune into supporting plans for the dock without finding out if its residents are in favour of it.

Day 85: ABP says Southampton is safer than the average port and would remain so if the new container terminal were built.

Day 86: Hythe residents' representative David Wolfe accuses ABP of a lack of forward planning to cope with increasing demands.

Day 87: Small yachts and pleasure boats in the Solent will be endangered by giant ships says The Cruising Association.

Day 88: Yachting instructor Patrick Manley says Southampton Water's main approach is not deep enough for the world's biggest ships.

Day 89: The New Forest national park issue comes on to the agenda of the inquiry. ABP says the decision to include Dibden Bay in the park was the result of "factual errors, misinterpretations and significant omissions".

Day 90: ABP says it would hang on to the site if the plan is rejected in the hope it could be used for port activities in the future.

Day 91: Former council planning officer Ted Johnson says it would be "tragic" if attempts to give the Forest extra protection as part of a national park coincided with the creation of the new terminal.

Day 92: A warning that the proposed New Forest national park could be jeopardised by the new container terminal is made.

Day 93: Plans for energy-saving wind farms in the north were blown out because they were too close to national parks - and the same argument is used by objectors to the container port.

Day 94: County council officer Andrew Smith says the new port would spoil the area for those who currently enjoy countryside paths.

Day 95: Senior citizens leap to the defence of footpaths threatened by the plans.

Day 96: Inquiry is postponed for a day because its deputy inspector is ill.

Day 97: Major efforts will be made to cut down on noise made by building and operating the new dock, claims ABP.

Day 98: Rupert Thornely-Taylor rejects claims the port would cause a deafening din. But he admits it has the potential to produce a "significant" amount of noise and vibration in the Hythe area.

Day 99: Inquiry inspector Michael Hurley says he and his deputy had visited a ship involved in roll-on roll-off car export and import operations and adds they had also gone along to Goatee Beach by Southampton Water as part of their probe.

Day 100: Deputy inspector Andrew Phillipson lightens proceedings by declaring: "Happy Birthday everyone. This is our 100th day.@

Day 101: The inquiry is told people would be unlikely to lose any sleep because of noise from the port but there was likely to be some disturbance.

Day 102: A Hythe Marina resident Sir Anthony Gill claims the development would cause noise that was intolerable and unacceptable.

Day 103: The Ramblers' Association raps the port plans saying rural areas as far away as Beaulieu would be hit by noise and light pollution.

Day 104: Housekeeping was the order of the day, with tidying up and checking on the progress of points agreed by parties for and against the scheme during the 48 weeks of the hearing so far.

Day 105: Warnings of the impact on everything from the insects of the New Forest to historic creatures in Southampton are delivered.

Day 106: Totton's Hounsdown School lodges a powerful plea for the dock to be rejected fearing for pupil safety with the extra traffic.

Day 107: Lorries will thunder though New Forest villages 24 hours a day in the new port is built, claims Netley Marsh Parish Council chairman Robert Giddings.

Day 108: It is revealed The Army may not be airing earlier concerns it had raised at the hearing itself after talks with ABP.

Day 109: Retired excavator driver Michael Ross warns excavation near the shore-line could cause movement of the earth below the surface and lead to subsidence problems in nearby villages.

Day 110: Opponents scrabble to negotiate the most favourable fall-back position should the development be approved. Inspector Michael Hurley requests parties produce a comprehensive list of agreements.

Day 111: The inquiry hears of the complex conditions demanded by objectors if ABP is given the go-ahead to create the port.

Day 112: ABP stated it would not accept time curbs imposed on docking vessels.

Day 113: Sailing groups launch a major plea for safety on Southampton Water in their parting shots to the inquiry.

Day 114: Pressure group Residents Against Dibden Bay Port shows it muscle as members leave standing room only.

Day 115: Opponents continue their calls for the scheme to be rejected.

Day 116: Campaigners celebrate a potential breakthrough in their battle after Felixstowe port unveils a major expansion plan.

Day 117: People and businesses repeat calls for the scheme to be turned down.

Day 118: Council barrister Richard Drabble makes a 240-page assault on the controversial plans in his closing speech.

Day 119: ABP warns again that Southampton will lose trade and some of the world's biggest companies if the scheme is not approved.

Day 120: Inspector Michael Hurley closes the inquiry after 13 months: "Feelings are very strong, but everyone has behaved in a civilised and courteous way - and I'm grateful for that."