Work to repair Sutton Harbour lock gates put back to 2023 following stakeholder discussions
Work to repair Sutton Harbour lock gates put back to 2023 following stakeholder discussions according to the Sutton Harbour Group who announced it in a letter today, Friday 26 August 2022.
In July, the Environment Agency announced that £3 million would be spent in an overhaul of the lock gates at Sutton Harbour in Plymouth but concerns about the timing of the works were raised by local fisheries consultant, Terri Portmann, and fishermen.
The work was scheduled to take place from mid-September 2022 until April 2023. Impact on usage of the lock system into the harbour will be from October 2022 through to the end of March 2023. This caused an issue for fishermen regarding safety concerns as they rely on access to the safety of the inner harbour during the dangerous winter months. Although the works had been scheduled to start, alternative arrangements had not been made that was suitable for the local fleet.
The Fishing Daily had contacted Defra and the Environment Agency with a number of questions concerning the timing of the works and the alternative arrangements for the fishing fleet. We also raised a number of other questions too which led to a meeting taking place in Plymouth between the relevant departments and local fishermen.
The result of the meeting has been a postponement in the works. In the letter, Philip Beinhaker of the Sutton Harbour Group wrote to the fishermen saying:
“I am writing to inform you that essential planned maintenance work by the Environment Agency on the Sutton Harbour lock gates which had been timetabled to start this autumn will not now commence until 2023. The decision has been taken as a direct result of feedback from harbour users during meetings in July and August with the Environment Agency and Sutton Harbour Group.
The discussions yielded many helpful comments, including the need for the work be put back to allow for more conversation about ways to mitigate impact.
The Environment Agency and Sutton Harbour Group agree with the feedback received and are grateful to all who have expressed interest in this project.
No new date has been set, but the works will commence in 2023. Further engagement is now planned and working groups are currently being established representing the fishing fleet and berth holders.
These groups will provide the opportunity to inform the project in finding an optimum time and supplemental alternative arrangements to facilitate the carrying out of the essential work. Further feedback gained from the constructive meetings to date will also be considered.
The schedule for the working sessions and rescheduling of the stakeholder meetings previously announced will be published in due course. This means that dates previously published will be subject to change.
All harbour users recognise the need for the works to take place. The £3m project, which involves the replacement of worn underwater lock gate cills, will ensure the locks can continue to reduce flood risk and provide commercial and amenity benefit to Plymouth for years to come.
Funding for the works is allocated and the works must be completed no later than April 2024 to maintain the harbour’s integrity and reduce any risks of further damage from delaying the repairs, and provide essential flood protection.
The project website, www.lockgates.info, is in the process of being updated and further information will be provided in due course.”