Harbour Management Plan


1.1 Attention is drawn to the map, glossary and statutory designations.

1.2 This Plan has been prepared by GHT and the following organisations have been consulted:-

1.3 Representations to this Plan were considered by GHT prior to its final approval.

1.4 GHT's jurisdiction in the Severn Estuary is limited to the area defined in the HRO 1988 (see map at page 2)

1.5 Much of the planning taking place looks at the Severn Estuary as a whole. Examples include:-

1.6 Similarly, GHT is only responsible for the tidal part of the River Wye downstream of Bigsweir Bridge (HRO 1988). The Environment Agency has applied for a Transport and Works Order giving it navigational jurisdiction over the River Wye above Bigsweir Bridge.

1.7 Again, much of the planning looks at the River Wye as a whole:-

1.8 It is also relevant to point out that the Severn Estuary and River Wye have both English and Welsh boundaries, so the British Government, the Welsh Assembly and Local Authorities in England and Wales are involved in their management. There is, at present, no determined national boundary seaward of the Second Severn Crossing.

1.9 The Severn Estuary has an immense tidal range and contains mudflats, sandbanks, rocky platforms and saltmarshes. The waters of the Upper 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.

1.10 The Gloucester Harbour is traversed by the Severn Bridge (M48) and the Second Severn Crossing (M4). Oldbury Nuclear Power Station is adjacent to the Gloucester Harbour. The former Berkeley Nuclear Power Station is now decommissioned.

1.11 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. Helpful guidance is contained in the Bristol Channel Tide Table, which is published annually, and Safety Guidance Notes for small craft compiled jointly by British Waterways, Bristol Port Company, Bristol City Docks and GHT.

1.12 The Gloucester Harbour currently accommodates between 400 and 500 piloted ship movements per year, which involve the transport of cargoes such as cement, coal, scrap metal, grain fertiliser, stone and forest products. There is currently no tanker traffic.

1.13 Following the Sea Empress incident the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Ports Division) has issued a Port Marine Safety Code for Ports covering all port safety functions. The Code lists the duties and responsibilities of harbour authorities and is to be supplemented by a Best Practice Guide and competence standards. The Gloucester Harbour Trustees, as a competent harbour authority and a Trust Port will have regard to the Code and its supporting documents in carrying out its statutory duties and responsibilities.

1.14 The Government, on 10 January 2000, launched National Standards fort Trust Ports which will require GHT to consider its future constitution and management structure.

1.15 This Plan lays down guidelines which will be followed by GHT and its officers in carrying out their duties and responsibilities as the competent harbour authority under the Pilotage Act 1987 for the Gloucester Harbour. GHT intends to revise this Plan at regular intervals to ensure it reflects changes which inevitably occur from time to time.

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