A formal consultation letter was yesterday sent to the Port Authority. Replying to a parliamentary question Sir George said:
'The transfer scheme submitted by the Port of Tyne Authority contains a number of provisions which, in our view, would constrain the operation and development of the port. I have considered the arguments offered by the authority about the provisions in question and the legal position, and am now minded to make my own transfer scheme under section 12 of the Ports Act 1991.
'Before preparing such a scheme, there is a requirement to consult the port authority and Lord Goschen has today written to the chairman of the Port of Tyne Authority to seek the views of the board.'
'There has been a lot of interest in this proposed privatisation. All those who made representations about the Port of Tyne Authoritys transfer scheme will be advised individually of the action I am now proposing to take.'
-- The department of transport received 134 representations in respect of the Port of Tyne Authoritys transfer scheme.
-- The section 12 procedures require a further statutory period for representations, prior to consideration of the proposals by both houses of parliament. The sale process cannot start until the parliamentary process has been completed.