Are harbours getting basic maintenance?

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

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Liberal Vannin MHK Peter Karran has raised concerns about levels of maintenance on the island’s breakwaters, piers and harbours.

He has written to Infrastructure Minister Laurence Skelly asking him to investigate whether basic maintenance has been carried out in some of our harbours.

But Mr Skelly has moved to allay his fears, saying that £750,000 is spent each year on maintenance.

Mr Karran told the Minister he had concerns regarding the lack of maintenance.

He wrote: ‘I have had representations as to the state of some of our harbours and whether basic maintenance has ever been done. This is of particular importance now if we are to face abnormally high tides and storms as we have done on a more regular basis.

‘We are in severe fiscal times but nevertheless this has been going on for some considerable time – around 15 to 20 years now – and is not just something new to bring to your attention.’

In his reply, Mr Skelly outlined what maintenance has taken place - and what is planned in this current financial year.

He explained the Ports Division has 140 structures, all of which had been inspected in the last four years. ‘Each inspection produces a list of repairs and grades them according to criticality. Repairs are then scheduled,’ he said.

Mr Skelly said £750,000 is spent each year on ‘cyclic, planned or reactive’ maintenance of harbour structures.

The Minister said that in the past four years, major maintenance and works had been carried out on Peel and Laxey breakwaters, Edward Pier deck and office berth, Victoria Pier’s undermining, fuel berth ladders, Douglas marina pontoon decks and No 5 berth fenders. Peel bridge had been repainted and there had been bed levelling and dredging at Douglas.

Planned for this financial year was further major maintenance and refurbishment of Ramsey swing bridge, as well as Castletown breakwater deck, Batter Pier deck, Douglas linkspan rams, Douglas flap gate hinge plates.

Douglas lifting bridge will be repainted, and there will be works carried out to Laxey river bank and the undermining of Alfred Pier, Port St Mary.

Mr Skelly told Mr Karran: ‘I hope the above allays some of your fears. Our harbour keeper and marine section carry out a range of minor maintenance tasks in harbours,

‘I know that the director of ports is concentrating a lot of effort on the state of our harbours and piers, the results of which I think will start to show in a few months’ time.’

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