WARNINGS of the impact on everything from the insects of the New Forest to historic structures in and near Southampton Water have marked the brief return of the Dibden Bay public inquiry to the area which will be most affected.

The inquiry into Associated British Ports' plans for a new container terminal on the shores of Southampton Water between Hythe and Marchwood has moved for three days of this week from its regular base in Southampton Docks to Applemore College near Hythe to accommodate local people wanting to have a say.

Hythe village resident David Davies marked the start of yesterday's session by warning of the impact on local people caused not only by the building and operation of the port, but also by its road and rail traffic.

Former New Forest Council chairman Shirley Cooke asked inquiry inspector Michael Hurley to spare a thought for the effect of dockland noise on the tiny insects, the birds and the mammals living close to the Bay in the New Forest, not just in daytime but also through the night.

She spoke of being able to hear the noise of the existing Southampton container terminal at three in the morning and said: "If we look at the environment of the insects and small creatures that communicate with each other, there will be an effect.

"The area is already stressed for the insects, birds and mammals that live there and that stress will increase."

Hugh Mason a Hythe resident asked for consideration to be given - even if the port went ahead - to the preservation of such things as historic pontoons on the Dibden Bay foreshore and railway fittings on and near the track at Marchwood.