Posted on 01 Feb 2010
Bembridge Harbour Important developments
The Department for Transport has confirmed that it will be conducting a public inquiry in January into the level of harbour dues being levied by the Bembridge Harbour Improvements Company Limited over the last four years, following appeals by harbour users. It is understood this will be the first such appeal to be carried out by the DfT and the users and managers of other harbours will be watching the conduct and result of the inquiry with great interest. The Environment Agency has now published its Eastern Yar draft coastal flood and erosion risk management strategy, in which it suggests that rising sea levels over the next 100 years will leave 730 homes and businesses at risk in the Bembridge and St Helens area alone.
The draft strategy recommends that the Bembridge Embankment Road, Brading Marshes and the majority of properties at risk should have improved protection from coastal flooding. The paper acknowledges that the St Helens Duver Wall (see photograph), which is in a very poor state and if breached would flood the St Helens Duver, is particularly vulnerable making vital the IOW Council’s proposal to maintain it for the next 50 years. However, EA’s recommendation to “do nothing but monitor” the groyne at Bembridge Point which they admit is also in a “very poor state of repair” and “is regularly submerged” is a mystery to Bembridge Harbour users. This negative policy will be seriously questioned during the consultation process as the groyne would appear to form an important protection to the entrance to Bembridge Harbour.
Exhibitions and consultations on the EA’s draft strategy will be taking place on this most important issue over the next few months. All these events are being closely monitored by the Bembridge Harbour Trust, a body that obtained charitable status in July 2007. The main objectives of this charity are to: • preserve and enhance Bembridge Harbour, it’s approaches and setting for the benefit of the public including the users of the harbour and the communities of Bembridge and St Helens on the Isle of Wight; and purchase the harbour from the current owner should the opportunity arise. BHT is a member of SPS.