Cowes to become a ‘true sheltered harbour’ once £7 million breakwater is built. Construction of the new Cowes breakwater is to start at Easter, Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) has announced.
Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) has appointed construction firm Boskalis Westminster to build the new £7 million detached breakwater. The construction of the new breakwater will be carried out in two phases. The initial construction phase will continue through the summer of 2014 and will then be followed by a consolidation period to allow for settlement of the breakwater structure during the autumn through to spring 2015. The contractor will then return to Cowes to re-dress the core structure and complete the construction of the breakwater during the summer of 2015.
The construction of the 350 metre long breakwater is the first phase of transforming Cowes into a “true sheltered harbour”. The project is a joint initiative between CHC and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) with both parties funding the work, with co-operation from the Crown Estate.
Capt. Stuart McIntosh, Cowes Harbour Master, said: “The signing of the breakwater construction contract is a significant milestone.” The breakwater is the first and most important component of the new harbour protection and infrastructure to be delivered as part of this partnership project. CHC will continue to work with the HCA to deliver the harbour authority’s priority of completing the sea defences by the delivery of the second phase: the extension to the Shrape breakwater and the dredging of the new Eastern Channel, which will be brought forward as part of the HCA’s proposed new marina at East Cowes.
Cowes Harbour Commission will issue regular navigational information and news updates for stakeholders and harbour users during the construction process.
More information on the Cowes breakwater project can be found on the CHC website: www.cowesharbourcommission.co.uk.
Cargo of cigarettes washes up on Devon beach – The Maersk Svendborg lost over 500 containers after being battered by huge waves and 60-knot winds in the Bay of Biscay, about 75 miles south-west of Land’s End.
Maersk, the owners of the 1138ft (347m) vessel, confirmed that 520 containers were lost but that most, around 85%, were empty. The full extent of the damage wasn’t realised until the ship docked in Malaga, southern Spain, last week.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency confirmed that the majority of the containers had sunk in French waters. The agency’s aerial surveillance aircraft have been searching for the remaining containers, which can float just below the surface.
Three containers have been spotted, one washed ashore in Devon and two mid Channel. The MCA is working with Maersk to ensure the containers are recovered.
The container which washed up in Devon was full of cigarettes and police had to close the area after the MCA released a statement reminding people that all such items are private property and if found must be reported. Not doing so is a criminal offence
Home Office postpone e-Borders but the controversial reporting scheme for leisure boaters is still on the cards.
The controversial e-Borders scheme for motorboaters will not be introduced next month, despite long-held government plans to do so. The scheme, designed to combat illegal immigration, is operational for ferries and air traffic, but the UK Border Force has not worked out a way for it to be implemented in a practical way for leisure boatowners.Yet e-Borders has not been scrapped and owners fear it will eventually result in onerous and impractical form-filling for anyone making a cross-Channel passage.
A Home Office spokeswoman, Thea Warren, told MBM: “The guidance I have is that we have made no changes to the reporting requirements for pleasure boats, and there are no plans to do so in the immediate future. In addition, there are no changes to the customs reporting requirements captured by the form C1331 as a result of e-Borders.”
In a 56-page report published in October last year, the Independent Inspector of Borders and Immigration, former chief constable John Vine, published a report into how the scheme’s first 10 years have gone in the airline and ferry industries. His report was widely critical of the scheme and also acknowledged concerns raised by the RYA.
Head of legal and government affairs at the RYA, Gus Lewis, said: “We maintain our long-held view that the e-Borders reporting methodology is simply not designed to accommodate the unscheduled activities of the recreational boating sector. We welcomed the acknowledgement of the legal and practical issues that the RYA pointed out to the e-Borders team several years ago. We will continue to oppose the implementation of a regime in which all cross-border voyages to and from other EU states by recreational craft are required to be notified to the UK government in advance of the voyage.
Flooded homes along the River Thames are being evacuated and thousands more are at risk, with water levels expected to keep rising for the next 24 hours.
Residents in one Berkshire village say the scenes are from a “horror movie”.
Fourteen severe flood warnings are in place in Berkshire and Surrey, while two remain in Somerset.
PM David Cameron, who is touring flood-hit south-west England, said it was not the time to change personnel amid criticism of the Environment Agency.
Chancellor George Osborne, meanwhile, said people understood “that the rain is not the fault of any one person”.
Homes, shops and businesses in the Berkshire village of Datchet are underwater and hundreds more along the lower River Thames, as far as Shepperton, are under threat, the Environment Agency says.
Several Thames gauges are showing their highest levels since being installed in the 1980s and 1990s.
Fire crews, who have been rescuing people from their homes in Staines-upon-Thames, say they have never known waters so deep or a flood rescue operation on this scale.
On Monday night, Surrey Police said more than 150 people had been rescued from flooded homes in the previous 24 hours.
Near Windsor, Councillor Colin Rayner pleaded for help from the police and Army.
“We’ve got 50 volunteers here, we’ve got the vulnerable people out of their homes, now we need to get everyone else out,” he said “Nearby, in the Berkshire village of Colnbrook, resident Asif Khan said his whole street was under water, his house was flooded and his fridge “just went bang”.
“It’s something out of a horror movie,” he said, adding that he was now about to try to evacuate with his two small children.
Hurst village resident Paul Palmer said sewers there were blocked and they have been unable to use the toilet since Friday.
“It’s starting to back up into the toilet – it’s like going back to the dark ages,” he told the BBC.
Thames Valley Police have declared a “major incident” in east Berkshire.
A major incident has also been declared in Surrey by the county’s police force.
Howard Davidson, from the Environment Agency, said he expected conditions in the county to deteriorate as more rain fell over the coming days.
“We have issued flood warnings from Datchet down to Shepperton, and we urge people to take heed of the flood warnings. We are anticipating another three or four inches on the Thames over the next 24 hours.”
The Environment Agency said it had never issued as many severe flood warnings and that many areas had seen more than double their average rainfall.
A two-hour meeting of the emergency Cobra committee has taken place.
The prime minister took part by phone from south-west England, where he will spend the night.
Speaking afterwards, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said sites likely to have problems in coming days were being identified and prioritised.
“Everything possible” was being done to protect homes and communities, and special attention was being paid to water and electrical plants, he added.
The control of sandbags and ordering of temporary flood defences would be centralised by government, he said, and “full military support” remained on standby across the south.
Railway lines have also been badly affected with passengers facing severe delays. The latest developments include:
- Trains between Staines and Windsor and Eton have been cancelled until at least Thursday
- First Great Western says mainline services from London Paddington had resumed but a reduced timetable was running between Paddington and Reading
- The main route into and out of Devon and Cornwall, via Bridgwater, has been cut off by floods and storm damage
- First Great Western has lifted ticket restrictions on all journeys
Among other developments:
- The Environment Agency has issued 14 severe warnings – meaning “danger to life” – along the River Thames, in areas including Staines, Chertsey and Datchet
- Two severe warnings are in place for the South West of England in Salt Moor and East Lyng, in Somerset
- Large parts of Worcester city centre could be closed for a week because of flooding, the county council has said.
- An earth bank has been built to protect the town of Bridgwater, on the edge of the Somerset Levels, from flooding
- The family of Gareth Lockyer, the missing a kayaker whose body was found in the River Usk in Powys, say he was a “kind, caring and gentle” person
- Essex County Council says it is releasing £1m of emergency funds to tackle road flooding across the county
Network Rail says it is concerned about 400 to 500 railway sites. Normally, at this time of year, it would be about a dozen.
It is also warning that problems on the rail network could last for some months.
More than 300 less serious warnings and alerts have been issued by the Environment Agency, mostly in southern England and the Midlands.
BBC Weather forecaster Steve Cleaton said rain and strong winds were expected to hit areas already affected by flooding on Tuesday.
It is expected to start raining on the Somerset Levels at between 2am and 3am, with 10-20mm falling widely and as much as 30mm in some areas.
The band of rain is due to approach the Severn basin by dawn on Tuesday and the Thames areas around the time of the morning rush hour.
Wednesday will bring wintery showers, gale force winds and heavy rain in parts of south and west England, Mr Cleaton said, with gusts of over 70mph expected in Devon and Cornwall.