The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance has asked the Durban High Court to set aside authorisation for the development of a R3,5 billion logistics park on the Clairwood Racecourse site.

The alliance has asked the court to refer the matter back to the MEC for Economic Development and that the developer – Capital Property Fund – be required to submit a specialist study on the logistics park’s impact on air quality.

It is estimated that more than a thousand trucks per hour will visit the freight yard during peak times.

The 76-hectare logistics park, that Capital Property Fund is developing, will take up less than half of the old Clairwood Racecourse in the south of Durban.

The racecourse closed in 2014.

Representing the developer, Advocate Alan Lamplough has told the court that the park will consist of offices and warehouses.

It will be a distribution point for cargo arriving from and being shipped to the Durban harbour.

Lamplough says among the 30 conditions set by former KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development Mike Mabuyakhulu at the end of 2015, is that the developer redevelop road infrastructure around the park to ease traffic congestion.

He says the park’s gate will be 700-meters off the road to lessen the trucks’ diesel emissions.

Lamplough has told the court that the park will simply reroute existing trucks carrying containers to and from the congested port.

He says the vehicles will mainly be using the M4 Highway instead of narrow residential roads to reach small warehouses in suburban areas as they currently do.

Presenting the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance’s case, Advocate Sheldon Magardie has pointed to two major health studies that have been done in South Durban.

It has been found that 60% of residents die before the age of 60, amid a high incidence of chronic respiratory ailments like bronchitis.

Magardie has argued that the appeal board and the MEC has not given the health reports due consideration, since they hardly comment on a study of 200 pages.

Magardie stopped short of conceding that the logistics park will not increase heavy vehicle traffic in South Durban as a whole. He, however, argued that a specialist study of the cumulative effect of carbon monoxide emissions from the trucks visiting the park, should be done. Judgment has been reserved.