DAERA issues update on Kilkeel and Ardglass Harbour Development projects

DAERA has issued an update on Kilkeel and Ardglass Harbour Development projects

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has issued an update on the Development of Local Fishery Harbours for Kilkeel and Ardglass in Co Down.

For several years, the fishing industry in Kilkeel has been lobbying for an expansion to the outer harbour to facilitate larger vessels. Currently, the UK’s largest vessel, the 86.4 metre pelagic trawler “Voyager” is incapable of using any of the facilities at the harbour which is the boats home port, something Anifpo, CEO, Alan MacCulla OBE would like to see rectified.

Kilkeel is the largest fishing harbour in Northern Ireland and one of the UK’s top 20 fishing ports, but the new harbour development would see its overall performance improve if their larger pelagic boats could land there. Presently, the nearest port that can facilitate these boats is Belfast.

The Ardglass Harbour Developments (AHD) group have also been campaigning for improvement to the harbour there with a proposed regeneration plan of £40m. The significant infrastructure project principally involves deepening the harbour to facilitate larger vessels and installing a pontoon for the crab fishers.

Earlier this year in January, Fisheries Minister Edwin Poots announced that a multi-million pound investment in Northern Ireland’s three key fishing harbours was closer to becoming a reality.

Yesterday, DAERA issued an update on the Development of Local Fishery Harbours:

“As you will be aware, the Department of Finance approved the Strategic Outline Case for the Fishery Harbour Development Programme in October 2021, which allows DAERA to incur expenditure on work required to inform the Outline Business Cases upon which any later decisions to proceed with infrastructure development will be based.

“To progress this, DAERA has been working with Construction and Procurement Delivery (CPD) of the Department of Finance and NIFHA to develop the tender specifications to procure Integrated Consultant Teams (ICTs) for Ardglass and Kilkeel. The ICTs will undertake environmental and technical studies that are needed to verify the technical viability of the proposed works and develop budget cost estimates. This will inform the development of the Outline Business Case, which will need approval from the Department of Finance before the decision to commence construction can be taken.

“The procurement of the ICTs will be a two-stage process because the cost for each harbour project is over the £20m threshold. The first stage is the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire, and these have been advertised on eTendersNI today. This will be followed by an Invitation to Tender to those deemed suitably qualified and experienced to undertake the work. It is expected that the ICTs will be formally appointed in April 2023.”

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