plymouth council leader fishers

Leader of Plymouth City Council, Tudor Evans OBE, has praised the perseverance of fishers and council officials over issues at Sutton Harbour

Late yesterday, Wednesday 24 October the Environment Agency (EA) announced details of a compensation scheme for those affected by the flood defence work at Sutton Harbour lock gates.

Leader of Plymouth City Council Tudor Evans OBE said:

“I welcome the EA finally setting out the parameters of a compensation scheme for losses experienced as a result of the vital flood defence works that started early last month at Sutton Harbour.

“On first look it does seem to be light in detail and I am concerned that it could turn out to be a lengthy and bureaucratic process that these owner/operator/micro businesses may struggle to navigate.

“I am grateful to officers at Plymouth City Council who have worked tirelessly with our fishers to get this far in challenging circumstances over the past two-months and I am going to ask them to continue and to find out more information so that we can be sure that the process will be simple and speedy.

“Our fishers and shore side businesses have already lost fishing time and income and have incurred additional costs. Like everyone else they have households to support as well as their businesses and I want to make sure that we see claims processed and money on the way to them without further delay.

“There are also a number of operational questions that remain unanswered about the Trinity Pier site, and I am also going to ask officers to continue to work with industry to see if we can get to the bottom of those too.”

The lock gates at Sutton Harbour in Plymouth will benefit from a £3 million repair and maintenance project starting in September 2022 work september plymouth lock gates plymouth council leader fishers

The lock gates at Sutton Harbour in Plymouth

The email from the EA to fishers stated:

  1. Requests must be submitted in writing to [email protected]; or to Sutton Harbour Lock Team, Environment Agency, Manley House, Kestrel Way, Exeter, EX2 7LQ.
  2. Compensation requests must be submitted in writing and supported by documentary evidence.
  3. Each request will be assessed individually and on its own merits by the Environment Agency with the support of Sutton Harbour Company (or their agents). As part of the assessment process, Sutton Harbour Company will provide information relevant to the claims for compensation and reasonable assistance with the Environment Agency’s assessment of those claims.
  4. Requestors may be asked to provide additional information to enable their request to be considered and they will be obliged to take reasonable steps to mitigate their losses.
  5. On the completion of the review, the Environment Agency will make an assessment of the request, and if substantiated, an offer to make a compensatory payment to the requestor.
  6. If the requests cannot be resolved amicably, the requestor has the right to take further action.

Leading Maritime lawyer Andrew Oliver of Andrew Jacksons, Hull, said:

“It is pleasing to see that it has been accepted that compensation will be paid. However, in reality this only reflects the legal position.

“Paragraph 5 of Schedule 21 to the Water Resources Act 1991 says that anyone who is injured (which means suffered a loss) shall receive “full compensation” for their loss from the Environment Agency.

“If there is a dispute about that compensation the matter is referred to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) which was formerly called the Lands Tribunal.

“Key to this is the reference to full compensation which means being put back in the position you would have been in had the disturbance to business not occurred.

“In essence this means net losses to the vessel owner and crew, and I would say any reasonable costs in putting together the claim.”

In addition to the comments about how the compensation scheme would work, the EA also stated:

“Harbour users are obliged to take reasonable steps to mitigate their losses”.

On 29 September 2023, The Fishing Daily reported concerns about the lack of risk assessments and method statements for the alternative provision at Trinity Pier.

The Fishing Daily asked both the EA and Sutton Harbour Group for comment. Responding the Environment Agency issued the below response from Sutton Harbour:

“All necessary risk assessments and method statements are in place. Skippers and owners have been told they may view hard copies of any risk assessments, operational procedures and liftings plans which are relevant to activities being undertaken at Trinity Pier. Skippers/owners wishing to do this are invited to book an appointment with Sutton Harbour Harbour Master.”

fisheries resource education programme
the fishing daily advertise with us
the fishing daily advertise with us
Follow The Fishing Daily