Cowes Harbour Commission is pleased to report that the statutory consultation phase for the proposed Cowes Harbour Revision Order (HRO) has been successfully completed and that minor issues raised by Trinity House, ABP, and the RYA have been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. This is another important step towards modernising and improving the legislative powers available to Cowes Harbour Authority to ensure that ‘local harbour rules’ remain 'fit for purpose’.
Once the Marine Management Organisation’s legal department have reviewed and approved the final drafting of the HRO, it will be laid before Parliament for a minimum of 21 days before it can be brought into force. This will then signal the start of statutory consultations on a new set of General Directions for Cowes Harbour, all of which will be subject to an agreed adjudication process, if there are any outstanding issues that were not resolved during the consultation period.
The new General Directions will take over from existing Cowes Harbour byelaws and become the primary tool for local legislation within the Harbour. Local harbour byelaws have historically been the main power available to harbour authorities to regulate the movement of shipping and operations within a harbour’s area of jurisdiction. However, the government no longer has the resources to continue to administer harbour byelaws, which has led to many harbour authorities having byelaws that are either outdated or not fit for purpose.
The ratification of the HRO and the implementation of new General Directions will enable the Commissioners to keep the local harbour legislation ‘fit for purpose’ with a modern responsive process that includes proper governance ‘checks and balances’.
CHC is committed to the principle of transparency and has already undertaken a significant amount of consultation with stakeholders and the Advisory Committee during the development and drafting of the new General Directions. It is now vital that the next stage in the process - the statutory consultation on the proposed new General Directions - gets underway as soon as possible so that it can be a thorough and robust process.
In conclusion, these powers of General Direction are required in the interests of providing safe navigation for a wide variety of vessels within a very busy harbour and therefore, from a safety point of view CHC is very keen to get the new ‘fit for purpose’ General Directions in place for the 2013 season.
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