Agenda and minutes

Harbour Board - Tuesday, 8th August, 2023 2.00 pm

Venue: Ilfracombe Centre - Ilfracombe. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Community Services  01271 388253

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received Councillor Wilkinson.


Councillor Williams took the Chair for the meeting.


To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 7 February 2023 pdf icon PDF 240 KB



RESOLVED, that the minutes of the meeting held on 7th February 2023 (circulated previously) be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


Declarations of Interest

(Please complete the form provided at the meeting or telephone Corporate and Community Services to prepare a form for your signature before the meeting) Items must be re-declared when the item is called, and Councillors must leave the room if necessary)




There were no declarations of interest announced.


Quarterly Designated Person Port Marine Safety Code Audit Report - Ilfracombe and Lynmouth Harbours pdf icon PDF 212 KB

Report by Health and Safety Advisor (attached).


The Board considered the Quarterly Designated Person Port Marine Safety Code Audit report (circulated previously), by the former Health and Safety Advisor who was acting as the designated person for the purpose of this meeting.


The Designated person gave the Board the following highlights:


·       The quarterly audits were carried out at Ilfracombe and Lynmouth Harbours on 4th July 2023.

·       The quarterly audits were carried out to fulfil the responsibility placed upon the Designated Person (DP) to ensure the Marine Safety Management System was working correctly in compliance of the Port Marine Safety Code.


Ilfracombe actions completed:


·       Work to replace all the electrical conduits on the Cove had been completed.

·       A Contractor had now been appointed to carry out the work on the vertical crack on Old Quay Head. The work was likely to commence in September 2023.

·       The Merchant Shipping (Watercraft) Order 2023 came in to force on 31st March 2023 and the proposed Harbour Revision Order when in force would give the Harbour Authority powers of General Directions to include Jet Skis under the definition of “vessels”

·       Whilst it was agreed that maintenance of the Warp Shed on Stone Bench would be carried out by the Council, there was no work currently required for health and safety purposes.

·       Duty Holder Training for Members had been held with twenty two Members attending. Those who were unable to attend the session were expected to watch the available recording of the session to ensure they undertook the training.

·       The three yearly external harbour audit was carried out by ABPmer in June 2023. The final report for Ilfracombe harbour had been received. However, the final report for Lynmouth had not yet been received.

·       Speed ramps had been installed to slow down vehicles as they enter the Pier car park.

·       The Cove area had been resurfaced and the pedestrian walkway re-laid in a different coloured, recycled material which would not fade or wear out. The white line demarking the unprotected working quayside had been repainted.


In response to a question regarding cracks in the newly laid recycled surface, the Harbour Master advised that there was an issue with the installation in certain places but advised that the company would be returning to make all of the repairs for free once the weather improved.


In response to a further question, she advised that the newly laid surface had a life expectancy of a minimum of 20 years.


Risk Management – Ilfracombe


·       An internal audit of the following topics was carried out this quarter. There were no non compliances and the only non-conformities were that some of the policy and procedure documents were not available on the website as they had been removed for Accessibility Checking.


The topics audited were as follows:


Ø  Drink/Drugs.

Ø  Piloting, Towage and Bunkering.

Ø  Licensing (Works, Tugs, Craft).

Ø  Permitting (Diving and Hot Works).

Ø  Auditing Internal /External.

Ø  Dangerous Vessels and Dangerous Substances.

Ø  Vessel Traffic Management.

Ø  Open Port Duty and Setting Dues.

Ø  Consultation & Consensus.

Ø  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Ilfracombe and Lynmouth Harbour's Budget Trading Accounts pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Report by Account Manager (attached)

Additional documents:


The Board considered the Ilfracombe and Lynmouth Harbour’s Budget Trading accounts (circulated previously).


The Harbour Master advised that there had been £0.5m spent on harbour works over the three quarters.


There were no questions or comments from the Board.


The Board noted the financial situation of both harbours.


Appointment of two Independent Representatives to the Harbour Board pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Report by Harbour Master (attached).


The Board considered a report regarding the appointment of two Independent Representatives to the Harbour Board (circulated previously), by the Corporate and Community Services Officer.


The Harbour Manager advised that Mr Bert Gear and Mr Tim Gibbs be appointed as independent representatives to the Harbour Board for a second four-year term both beginning on 25 November 2023 until 24 November 2027.


Two independent representative vacancies would arise on the Harbour Board on 24th November 2023 due to Mr Tim Gibbs and Mr Bert Gear reaching the end of their first four-year term. Mr Gear and Mr Gibbs had confirmed they were in agreement to take on a second 4 year term as Independent members on the Board, therefore an external recruitment exercise was not required.


RECOMMENDED, that Full Council agree the recommendation of the Harbour Board to appoint Mr Bert Gear and Mr Tim Gibbs as Independent Representatives to the Harbour Board for a second four-year term both beginning on 25th November 2023 until 24th November 2027.



Harbour Plans Review pdf icon PDF 241 KB

Report by the Harbour Master (attached)

Additional documents:


The Board considered the Harbour Plans report (circulated previously) by the Ilfracombe Harbour Master.


The Harbour Master advised that as a Statutory Harbour, Ilfracombe Harbour was obliged to have certain policies and plans in place under the Port Marine Safety Code (PMSC) and the accompanying guide to good practice. These policies and plans were subject to periodic reviews and amendments. From time to time when deemed necessary for Harbour management a new policy or plan would be put in place.


She drew the Board’s attention to the following points that were highlighted within the report:


·       Since the implementation of the PMSC in 2000 following the lessons learnt from the grounding of the Sea Empress in 1996 Statutory Harbour Authorities who complied with the code were committed to produce policies and plans covering a wide range of subjects and to review those documents on a regular timescales to ensure they continued to be fit for purpose.

·       The review of those documents took into account current legislative regulations and relevant guides to good practice.

·       There were three documents that had been reviewed as per the review schedule, these were as follows:


Ø  Marine Safety Management System (appendix A).

Ø  Marine Emergency Plan (appendix B).

Ø  Edge Protection policy (appendix C).


·       These now required a final review at board level before being adopted.

·       There were no other options to be considered.

·       There were no risks in adopting the recommendation.

·       The three documents had been reviewed/ formulated and were in line with current accepted guidance and uphold the current legislative regulations.

·       There was no impact on the community in adopting the recommendation.


In response to a question regarding the edge protection policy, the Harbour Master advised that the slipway had railings and replacement handrails on the old slipway to provide protection.


She added that permission to swim had been granted to the wild swimming commercial watersports operator at Larkstone Cove. However, lone swimming was not permitted and a new safety sign had been installed to warn that swimming beyond the marker buoys was not permitted.


She drew the Board’s attention to appendices one, two and three of the report, which were as follows:


·       The Marine Safety Management System (MSMS), which outlined the safety plan for the next three years and listed the members of the Board.

·       The Marine Emergency Plan, the Harbour Master had identified that there was no section within the emergency plan with regards to raising the alarm for injuries sustained on board a vessel. So, this had now be included under 2.3 of the plan and outlined the necessary procedures which should be followed in the event of an emergency.

·       Edge Protection Policy, was fully compliant. However, there were one or two actions required with regards to signage and the requirement of chain to be installed at Old Quay Head.


The Harbour Master added that the Harbour plans had been highlighted as one of the better examples of those assessed across the country.


RESOLVED, that the review  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Ilfracombe Harbour Consultative Forum pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Report by the Harbour Master (attached)

Additional documents:


The Board considered a report by the Harbour Master (circulated previously) regarding the Ilfracombe Harbour Consultative Forum.


The Harbour Master advised that the Port Marine Guide to Good Practice 2018 (MCGA), which was the accompanying document to the Port Marine Safety Code (PMSC) stated in section 3:


“Consultation that “Safety in the port marine environment was not just a matter for the organisation, its Officers, contractors or its authorised pilots. Users were also required to minimise risk to themselves and others, in doing so they must be able to put forward to the organisation their views on the development of appropriate safety policies and procedures. It followed therefore that organisations needed to consult, as appropriate with two main groups, which were marine users, both commercial and leisure, and local interests and communities.”


She advised that the Ilfracombe’s Harbour Consultative Forum (The Forum) was formed in 2017 with its own constitution (appendix A) and up to 2020 it had performed some of the duties required under the code. However, since the advent of COVID 19; to date there had not been another forum meeting. This had left the Harbour Authority without an avenue to comply with section 3 of MCGA.


She drew the Boards attention to the following points within the report:


·         Port marine operations were technical matters, which were well understood by experienced Harbour masters or port marine practitioners, but perhaps much less so by the wider public, including many recreational users.

·         The importance of appropriate involvement of wider interests, which safeguarded the organisations position, whilst being mindful of the overall responsibility for managing safety in a harbour or facility rested with the organisation.

·         That the safety management system was only effective if the organisation responsible took active measures to involve and secure the commitment of those involved. This applied both to the risk assessment, and to the subsequent operation, maintenance and ongoing development of the safety management system.

·         The general aim of consultation on these occasions with users and other interests was to provide an opportunity for contributions to be made both on the identification of risk and its management. Risk management often depended less on formal regulation than on winning the understanding of those whose activities created the risk and securing their agreement to safe behaviour. Organisations were therefore encouraged to advertise that they were undertaking a risk assessment, and to seek ways of securing the widest possible response from those likely to have a meaningful contribution.

·         There was a clear understanding that the Forum had not met the full requirements of section 3 of the MCGA and given that time lapse between the last meeting and now, it would be advantageous to revisit the Forums constitution and re-establish the Forum to enable the better management of the Harbour moving forwards.


Mr Gear added that he was Chair of the Forum in its current format for 10 years. However, attendance at the meetings had a tendency to fluctuate if there were particular issues  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Marine Safety Plan

Harbour Master to report.


The Board received an update from the Harbour Master regarding the Marine Safety Plan.


The Harbour Master advised that the safety plan was operating as it should be and that all of the relevant information was available on the Council’s website.


Aids to Navigation

Harbour Master to report.


The Board received an update from the Harbour Master regarding Aids to Navigation.


The Harbour Master advised that the solar lights, which had a beam that could be seen from two nautical miles out to sea were ready to be fitted. However, the posts that were already in situ required some adaptation prior to the installation of the new solar lights.


She added that the new solar lights for Lynmouth would be installed on mass on the 5th September 2023, which would require the lights to be off for three days.


The new lights had a GSM monitor fitted, which enabled software to be linked to mobile phones. So, if ever a light was to stop working, the Harbour Master would be notified immediately. The software also enable officers to generate reports for the operation of the system.


Infrastructure Update

Harbour Master to report.


The Board received an update from the Harbour Master regarding infrastructure.


The Harbour Master regarding the environmental impact of the harbour adding that her goal was to ensure that the harbour was sustainable and that steps were taken now to future proof against potential impacts.


She outlined the interventions that were already in place, which were:


·       The utilisation of composite materials

·       The use of composite ladders around the harbour

·       The installation of the fenders.

·       The works to Old Quay Head were almost complete

·       The ladders that were to be installed at the Cove were currently being


·       The facing to the hut on stone beach was currently being removed through acts of vandalism, this area could be adapted to bring changing facilities to the area once the sea pool was in place if the need was demonstrated.

·       Whilst undergoing maintenance, areas of deterioration were identified on the fuel tank and the requirement to replace the tank was now being explored.



Future Projects

Harbour Master to report.


The Board received an update from the Harbour Master regarding future projects.


The Harbour Master advised that Ilfracombe Harbour had received endorsement from the Royal Yachting Association as a recognised training centre.


She added that there were aspirations to deliver a multiuse training centre and that this had already led to a number of requests to utilise any future facilities that may be developed.


A business case had been developed for the Ilfracombe Maritime Centre of Excellence together with the development of subsequent business plans in time for approval by the relevant bodies. Tentative approaches had already been made to RMB Chivenor with regards to utilising their grounds as the marine firefighting facility, with the Brynsworthy Environment Centre also being a viable option.


In response to a question regarding the background to the project, the Harbour Master advised that the Royal Yachting Association could provide training courses to boat owners for vessels up to 24m. However, anything above that length would fall within the remit of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and required a boat owner if commercially operated to undertake a mandatory 5.5 day qualification, which required renewal every five years (STCW 95).


She added that the majority of courses could be delivered in Ilfracombe but that maritime firefighting on vessels over 24m would have to be delivered at an alternative location. However, Red One had confirmed that they could deliver this element of the training if the Council provided the necessary equipment; and there were potential locations for this, provided the correct foam rating was in place.


The Harbour Master confirmed that the Board would be kept informed of the process as it developed, adding that the ultimate vision was to build a Maritime Academy in Ilfracombe whilst being mindful to manage realistic expectations and work towards that vision.


In response to questions, the Harbour Master advised the following:


·       The port management element would be included.

·       Petroc were in the process of applying for university status.

·       That mandatory Duty Holder training had been delivered to all Members.


Bollard testing


The Harbour Master referred to an email that she had received from a company regarding the testing of bollards and advised that there had been three major instances around the world whereby a bollard has been pulled out of the Quay by the vessel resulting in injury.


She advised that there was one company that could undertake the required works and access small areas and that she had obtained an approximate quote of £12,410 or £4137 per annum (£344.75 per month) for the testing of 34 bollards each year over a three year period. There would be no charge for Lynmouth.


She explained that bollard testing was not currently a mandatory requirement at the current time. However, once it became a mandatory requirement the costs would increase significantly.


In response to a question regarding the frequency of testing once it became a mandatory requirement, the Harbour Master advised that it was likely that testing would be required  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Harbour Community Forum

Town Clerk from Lynton and Lynmouth Town Council to report on the Harbour Sub-Committee.


This item wasn’t considered as the Town Clerk to Lynton and Lynmouth was not in attendance at the meeting.