To consider the report of the Director Net Zero Exeter & City Management.
RECOMMENDED that Council approve:-
(1) that work on obtaining a Harbour Revision Order be commenced to continue the progress towards a Port Marine Safety Code compliance; and
(2) the allocation of a one-off budget of up to £150,000 to allow for the Harbour Revision Order process and to provide contingency in case of a public enquiry.
Reason for Decision: As set out in the report.
The Executive received the report on the options for meeting the requirement to obtain appropriate legal powers to achieve a Port Marine Safety Code compliance. The Executive had previously approved measures to work towards compliance with the Department for Transport’s Port Marine Safety Code. To be fully compliant with the Port Marine Safety Code a Harbour Revision Order was required, which would provide the Council with the needed powers to keep water users safe, address hazardous vessels and enable income streams to contribute to the running costs for the harbour team.
Particular reference was made to the Port Marine Safety Code, which was an industry standard for managing marine and port facilities which provided control of the waterways and would alleviate potential legal implications to the Council. A recent diesel oil spill incident on the Exeter Ship Canal could have been avoided if the harbour authority held the appropriate powers to issue a special direction order to have the non-compliant vessel leave the port within 28 days.
Councillor D. Moore, as an opposition group leader, spoke on this item. She welcomed the work on the Harbour Revision Order and enquired if the Portfolio Holder would make a public statement on the environmental impact of the recent incident to ensure the public were fully aware of the current situation.
Councillor Jobson, as an opposition group leader, spoke on this item and supported the report.
During the discussion the following points were made:-
· the harbour patrol team covered a large area with limited powers in place to ensure safety compliance. Having the legal powers to act against inappropriate behaviour or vehicles would be appropriate; and
· any potential charges levied in the future would help with the safe management and maintenance of the canal and estuary for all users, rather than purely for raising revenue.
The Portfolio Holder for Recycling, Waste Management and Waterways thanked the Harbour team for their swift action in containing the pollution from the recent diesel oil spill incident. The report had been taken to the Exeter Harbour Board for information and attaining Harbour Revision Order (HRO) had been supported. Details on issues such as charging would be established as the progress on attaining a HRO moved forward. The main area of concern was on making improvements to safety and port maintenance, and ensuring that the water was clean and safe for all users.
In response to a Members’ question, the Director of Net Zero Exeter and City Management and the Harbour Master - Exeter Port Authority explained that a public consultation would be undertaken to establish charging scales. Current payments received from water users were for costs of storing boats away during winter. Details on the resources for the collection of fees were still to be established and would be dependent on what the charges would be and the most effective form of taking payments.
RECOMMENDED that Council approve:-
(1) that work on obtaining a Harbour Revision Order be commenced to continue the progress towards a Port Marine ... view the full minutes text for item 113