The Trustees are the competent harbour authority for the Gloucester Harbour pursuant to the Pilotage Act of 1987. The main duties and responsibilities of the Trustees are the provision of pilotage, the provision and maintenance of navigation aids and generally to ensure the safety of navigation within the Gloucester Harbour. The Second Severn Crossing


Gloucester Harbour Trustees
2nd Floor, St. Luke's House
3 Llanthony Road
Gloucester GL2 5QT

Telephone: 01452 413009
Fax: 01452 310647

E-mail: [email protected]

Marine Enquiries

Gloucester Harbour Trustees
Severnside House
The Docks
Gloucestershire GL13 9UD

Telephone : 01453 811913
Mobile: 0374 725 270
Fax: 01453 811913

E-mail: [email protected]

Pilotage Service:

Gloucester Pilots' Partnership
Duty Pilot

Telephone: 07774 226143

The Gloucester Harbour Trustees were originally constituted in 1890 by the Pier and Harbour Orders Confirmation (No. 3) Act 1889 and initially comprised some 22 Trustees. The current constitution comprises 13 Trustees appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Gloucester Harbour Revision Order 1994. The present Trustees continue in office until 31 July 2002 and, like all Trust Ports, are currently studying the implications of the DETR's Review of Trust Ports. The Trustees meet quarterly.

The boundaries of the Gloucester Harbour are defined by the Gloucester Harbour Revision Order 1988. It covers a large area of the Severn Estuary and includes the tidal reaches of the Rivers Severn and Wye. Its outer limits commence seawards of the Second Severn Crossing and its inner limits end at the weirs at Llanthony and Maisemore near Gloucester and Bigsweir Bridge on the River Wye. The Harbour is traversed by the Severn Bridge (M48) and the Second Severn Crossing (M4). Oldbury Nuclear Power Station is adjacent to the Gloucester Harbour, but the former Berkeley Power Station is now decommissioned.

The Severn Estuary has an immense tidal range and contains mudflats, sandbanks, rocky platforms and saltmarshes. The waters of the Severn Estuary can be extremely rough and there is virtually no shelter. The tidal streams are very strong and may reach 8 knots or more on full flow and ebb and sea conditions can deteriorate rapidly throughout the area under certain conditions. The Severn Bore occurs regularly within the upper reaches of the Gloucester Harbour throughout the year.

Pilotage is compulsory for larger vessels. Great care is required by all vessels navigating within the Gloucester Harbour, particularly in the area of the Shoots Channel which is traversed by the main 454 metre span of the Second Severn Crossing. A pilot watch system has been installed to assist pilots navigating within this confined area. It comprises three radar stations with repeaters at Sharpness. The pilots are issued with portable receivers. SARA - the local search and rescue service - has direct access to the system.

Traffic within the Gloucester Harbour includes commercial vessels arriving at and departing from Sharpness Dock. Cargoes include scrap metal, grain, cement, fertiliser, forest products, coal and stone. Both the docks and the dry dock at Sharpness are operated by private sector companies and the Trustees do not own or operate any docks, quays or loading/unloading facilities. The remainder of the traffic comprises leisure craft, although there are at least two dredgers operating within the Gloucester Harbour on a regular basis. The Gloucester Sharpness Canal links Sharpness Dock with Gloucester Docks and the rest of the inland waterway system.

Both the River Severn and the River Wye are notified SSSIs. The Wye is a candidate Special Area of Conservation and the Severn is a proposed Special Area of Conservation. The Trustees have environmental duties placed upon them by both British and European legislation.

The day to day running of the Authority is supervised by a Chairman who also acts as the Trustees' Executive Officer. Administrative and financial procedures are undertaken by three part-time staff based at the Gloucester office. In addition, a full-time marine officer, based at Sharpness, is responsible for maintaining the pilot watch radar system, supervising the maintenance of the other navigational aids which includes lights, buoys, beacons and daymarks. He is also responsible for environmental management issues and duties relating to the pilotage service.

The British Waterways Harbour Master at Sharpness acts as the Trustees' Duty Harbour Master under contractual arrangements between the Trustees and BW.

The Trustees currently licence four pilots who have formed themselves into the Gloucester Pilots Partnership. The Trustees have an arrangement with the Partnership relating to the provision of pilotage services in the Upper Severn Estuary. The pilots board and land at Barry using the Pilot Cutter of the Bristol Port Company and also have the use of the Pilots Lodge at Barry run by ABP. The act of pilotage to and from Sharpness is long and tortuous and takes an average of 3 to 3½ hours depending on the speed of the vessel being piloted. The total DWT piloted in 1999 was over one million DWT. One of the pilots acts as Duty Pilot on a rota basis and is deemed, during his period of duty, to be an officer of the Trustees.

The Trustees have provided over the years, both on-shore and off-shore, lights and beacons, together with three navigation buoys. A deep water single point mooring for emergency use by vessels up to 10,000 DWT is provided at Northwick Roadstead. Lights are also provided to mark and safeguard the motorway crossings between England and Wales at Aust and across the Shoots Channel.

The Trustees aim to run an efficient, effective and economic operation for the benefit of all stakeholders. Over recent years it has reduced the number of employees and also reduced its pilotage charges and there has been no increase in local light dues for nearly ten years. The Trustees aim to break-even taking one year with another and any profits are reinvested for the benefit of the Harbour. The Trustees also aim to modernise the navigational aids whenever opportunity arises, especially where this reduces the costs of on-going maintenance and improves performance and reliability and/or has environmental benefits.

The Trustees have, as their overriding consideration, the safety of navigation within the Gloucester Harbour and are currently implementing the Port Marine Safety Code.

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