COWES OUTER HARBOUR PROJECT – Delivery and Consents news
The progress of the Cowes Outer Harbour Project (OHP) has taken an important step in the right direction with the news that SEEDA has now moved on to the open market in search of a development and operating partner to help take the OHP plans forward. In tandem, Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) has also formally confirmed its position in respect to its on-going relationship with SEEDA and the OHP.
As has been previously reported, CHC’s primary objective is the delivery of a new eastern channel and the system of wave protection required to make Cowes a true sheltered harbour i.e. the delivery of an Outer Breakwater, the extension to the Shrape Breakwater and the new Eastern Channel.
In order to help bring these objectives to fruition, CHC has committed to providing a grant funded contribution of up to £2.3 million towards the harbour infrastructure works, subject to various agreements being adhered to by SEEDA relating primarily to legal, contractual and performance obligations. CHC would prefer that the private sector be given the opportunity to bring the scheme forward and CHC does not currently intend to partake in the procurement process. However, in the event that the open market procurement process is not successful, CHC would consider further measures it might take in order to see the project delivered.
Meanwhile, Natural England and the Environment Agency raised the most significant issues as part of the statutory consultation process in respect to the applications for the three consents required for the Outer Harbour Project. SEEDA and CHC have instructed the project consultants to carry out further reporting to clarify and provide further evidence to validate the statements and position in the Environmental Statement and supporting documents. This work has now been completed and forwarded to the Marine and Fisheries Agency, Natural England and the Environment Agency. Work is also on-going to address other representations raised to the consenting authorities.
A meeting has been scheduled for early December to discuss the outstanding issues with Natural England and the Environment Agency. It is hoped that this meeting will bring to a conclusion their outstanding issues and allow the various consents to be approved early in the New Year.
Port Marine Safety Code and CHC Safety Management System (SMS)
Suffice it to say, safety management is one of the ongoing top priorities of Cowes Harbour Commission.
At a recently held internal meeting to discuss the revisions to the Port Marine Safety Code and its implications on Cowes Harbour Commission’s Safety Management System (SMS), it was agreed that a full review of the latter will be carried out. Without going into the nitty-gritty details here, there are key areas that will be further discussed, reviewed and put forward for sanctioning by the Commissioners over the coming months, namely:
* The appointment of a new Designated Person (DP). The Deputy Harbour Master (DHM) is currently undertaking this role but as the DHM is directly involved in assessing and controlling the risks to navigation as well as overseeing the operation of the Safety Management System (SMS) they are not in the best position to provide independent assurance to the Duty Holder, i.e. the Board of Commissioners. The new DP will therefore be Peter Jackson, the Commissioner with portfolio responsibility for Safety and Security.
* The DHM to be assigned the title of Port Safety Officer (PSO) within the SMS with responsibility for managing and implementing the system. The Harbour Master still maintains overall executive responsibility for safety.
The risk assessment based Marine SMS will cover the Cowes Harbour Authority safety responsibilities only. Each cost/operation centre will have its own set of Risk Assessments (RA) and Safe Working Practises (SWP). These separate Risk Assessments will have the same level of importance but will actively encourage each cost/operational centre to take ownership and involve their work force in the development and update.
An annual review of the SMS and the Harbour’s safety performance is to be compiled and published within the CHC Annual Report. A Crisis Management Plan will be designed to include first actions in the event of an incident to supplement the Oil Spill Response and Emergency Plans already in place.
CHC Advisory Committee
This recently formed Committee met for the second time at the end of October and approved its new constitution. This constitution was then ratified by the Harbour Commissioners at the November board meeting.
Some interesting issues were raised and discussed at length by the Advisory Committee, including trying to formulate and encourage concerted efforts by the various Medina clubs, Councillors and commercial bodies to continue to make Cowes a focal point for international yachting. It was felt that the CHC and the Advisory Body should help in co-ordinating events.
It was agreed that representatives from East Cowes Marina and Cowes Waterfront Trust should be invited to join the Advisory Committee.
New Marine Services Manager post attracts good level of applicants
Finally, as reported last month, John Price has decided to take early retirement after 40 years of loyal service to Cowes Harbour Commission. A new management position has been advertised. The Marine Services Manager position will cover the management of all CHC Commercial Services covering both the current roles of Assistant Harbour Master and Shepards Wharf Manager. To date, in excess of 80 applications have been received for the position not including internal applications. Interviews will take place in early/mid December.
If you would like to talk to the Harbour Master about any matters affecting Cowes Harbour, please make an appointment by contacting the Harbour Office on 01983 293952, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.