Lives at risk as build-up of silt blocks slipway at busy Arbroath lifeboat station
LIVES are being put at risk because of a massive build up of silt which is blocking the slipway of one of Scotland’s busiest lifeboat stations at low tide.
The main all weather lifeboat at the RNLI station at Arbroath on the Angus coast cannot be launched to answer emergency calls when the harbour is affected by the low water spring tides every fortnight.
And on Tuesday the volunteer crew had to drag the station’s inshore lifeboat across the mud to get out of the harbour to respond to an emergency call.
Allan Russell, the full time mechanic at the station, said: “It could be matter of life and death now. Fortunately, until now the lifeboat hasn’t been prevented from being launched because of the build up of silt in the harbour but it is only a matter of time before it does happen.”
The silt has been building up inside the harbour over the last 18 months since the dredger which had regularly cleared a channel in the harbour was decommissioned.
Angus Council earmarked £150,000 for a new three-year dredging contract but the lowest tender submitted was for £690,000.
Members of the council’s infrastructure services sub committee will meet on Monday to discuss a recommendation that they seek an exemption from the financial regulations to award a contract for the urgent dredging of 3000 cubic metres of silt from the harbour to allow the lifeboat to be launched whatever the tide. The contract has an estimated cost of £86,000.
Eric Lowson, the council’s director of infrastructure services, states in a report to the committee: “The silt levels in the harbour are subject to regular monitoring and an accumulation has built up at the entrance of the outer harbour creating access problems. Most critically, this accumulation has now reached the extent that prevents the RNLI life boat from launching from the slipway at low spring tide.
“The RNLI have already expressed concern at the problems they would encounter if this area is not cleared soon.”
He adds: “The dredging of critical areas within the harbour is required as a matter of urgency as the silt is jeopardising the commercial and leisure fleet operations at the harbour and potentially the ability of the RNLI to respond to emergencies. Both of these impacts are considered to present a high risk to the reputation of the council.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: South