The States of Guernsey Public Services Department is responsible, through Guernsey Harbours, for a wide range of maritime functions. This includes management and operation of the harbours at St Peter Port and St Sampson.
Both harbours have facilities for commercial ships as well as marinas for leisure craft. As the main gateway for freight to the Bailiwick, Guernsey Harbours handle approximately 98% of all Guernsey's freight imports and exports, including 100% of all liquid hydrocarbon fuel imports, along with around 33% of all passengers. St Peter Port Harbour also provides essential links to key ports on the south coast of the UK and France, as well as Jersey, Alderney, Sark and Herm.
Guernsey Harbours' functions include provision and administration of terminal facilities, moorings, ships' registry, pilotage, coastguard, aids to navigation, and facilities maintenance.
Throughout their existence, the harbours have undergone various development and maintenance projects without having any overarching strategic direction or plan. As the requirements continue to evolve, it has become increasingly important to have a Ports Master Plan to steer coordinated progression into the future.
The Master Plan
The Master Plan is a document that examines the future of the ports and begins to identify what PSD considers to be the priority issues to be addressed in maintaining functional ports. This document is the starting point for ongoing engagement with States departments and other key stakeholders.
Aims & Objectives
The objectives set at the outset of the Ports Master Plan were to:
- Inform the States of Guernsey through the Public Services Department as to its maritime requirements.
- Ensure the harbours are fit for purpose in the long term.
- Ensure sustainable port development.
- Enable the ports to meet changing needs.
- Aid the efficient management and operation of Guernsey Harbours.
- Ensure all proposed developments satisfy the governmental, legal, environmental and social constraints specific to Guernsey, including the States of Guernsey Strategic Land Use Plan.
One of the most important elements in developing Guernsey's Ports Master Plan was consultation with those affected by any potential changes or developments. To achieve this, key stakeholders were identified, including, but not restricted to, commercial and leisure users of both harbours as well as all States Departments.
A comprehensive consultation programme was developed, which ensured that the views, opinions and needs of interested groups and the wider general public were fully considered. This included, but not limited to,
- Meetings with Commercial Stakeholder (Operators / Users)
- Wider Stakeholder Workshops
- Public Drop-in Sessions
- Public Exhibition
This enabled us to ensure the widest possible participation, and help secure community support and buy-in for the Master Plan ahead of its publication and implementation. The content of this Master Plan has been developed with the help of the community and we believe it is the richer for that involvement.
What does the Master Plan cover?
The Ports Master Plan includes:
- An overview of the Ports' existing trading operations.
- Consideration of the Ports as an essential facility.
- A review of the current Ports infrastructure and the future demands which the Ports will have to meet.
- An assessment and outline of proposals for development to meet the future demands upon the Ports.
- Identification of the most strategically important developments for the Ports over the medium to long term.
- Implementation programmes required for the recommended changes.
- Consideration of funding mechanisms for future developments.
- Suggestions for ensuring that any proposals interface with and meet the requirements of the States of Guernsey Strategic Land Use Plan (SLUP).
The Ports Master Plan, PSD includes recommendations on:
- Continuing planned maintenance investment in major infrastructure.
i) Deep water berth - Finding a long term solution to Guernsey's liquid bulk requirements and ensuring the long-term viability of fuel deliveries.
ii) Relocating security line at St Peter Port Harbour.
iii) Repair work and possible enhancement of Fish Quay
- Providing capacity for the estimated growth in freight throughout the next 25 years.
- Maximising the use of available areas and sites (increasing income).
- Potentially relocating non-port related uses and non-essential port uses at St Peter Port Harbour to increase port capacity.
- Continuing investment in new port facilities.
- Improving vehicular access.
- Improving public access to the terminal building including potential relocation of the passenger terminal if the security line is relocated.
- Considering potential uses of the Careening Hard and surrounding areas.
- Investigating increasing the number of marina berths to cope with demand.
- Enhancing facilities for cruise liner passengers arriving by tender.
- Making amenity, aesthetic and environmental enhancements (in partnership with other States departments and organisations such as the Town Centre Partnership).
- Maintaining the harbours' role as an important source of employment opportunities, both direct and indirect.
This Port Master Plan looks at how Guernsey Harbours can retain their current success whilst also building business in the future. Investing in infrastructure might be the most obvious means of remaining successful, but taking advantage of opportunities as and when they appear can also provide prosperity for the Island
It is important for PSD to identify requirements and priorities in advance so that methods for funding can be given due consideration. The Plan identifies the strengths of the harbours and the latent economic value that exists. Therefore, through the Plan, PSD will be working closely with other States departments to ensure a range of corporate objectives can be met simultaneously.
Where strategic projects such as the deep water berth require States funding, full proposals will be laid before the States in the usual way, in accordance with established procedures.
Incorporating a strategic approach
A Ports Master Plan is vital to the Department, as all States Departments submitting proposals for infrastructure investment need to present their proposals in the context of a 20 year programme and the Ports Master Plan will provide this.
On top of this, Guernsey's harbours are more than just ports. For instance, St Peter Port Harbour is a 'gateway to Guernsey'. This means the ports have to be planned in a way that considers and takes account of other States of Guernsey plans and strategies.
The States-approved Strategic Land Use Plan (SLUP) identifies that the two harbours form an integral part of the main centres of Town and the Bridge. The SLUP specifically identifies the need to produce a harbour strategy that not only makes provision for functional requirements but to also meet the wider social, economic and environmental objectives of the States. Such a strategy should identify areas for commercial development and expansion as well as areas for leisure and retail development.
The Department has been working closely with other departments to ensure opportunities for development are appropriate, compatible with other interests of the Town and Bridge areas.
The Ports Master Plan provides a comprehensive understanding of the existing infrastructure, operations and challenges faced by Guernsey's harbours and the Island.
It analyses the existing port facilities and capabilities as well as the strains upon them and the challenges Guernsey's harbours faces in terms of future requirements.
The Ports Master Plan sets out clear but flexible objectives and proposals for developments within its 25 year horizon, based on the forecast information available and the feedback from public consultation, while making preparations for the requirements beyond the initial 25 year scope of the document.
The Ports Master Plan is a vital document to ensure a definitive and guided progression of Guernsey's harbours in the future. It is, however, merely a starting point for a prolonged period of joined-up working and I urge you to see it as a live document, rather than perhaps as a document that provides all the answers. It gives us much food for thought but it is down to the States, working together, to flesh out, prioritise and implement those ideas in a mutually beneficial way.