Wednesday 25 November 2020
Future Harbour Development
Madam Deputy Bailiff
In May 2019, the previous Assembly considered a requête proposing the construction of significant new port facilities, to the east of the current St Peter Harbour. The outcome of that debate was that the States' Trading Supervisory Board was directed to carry out a detailed analysis of the island's future harbour requirements, including consideration of any requirement for new berth facilities east of the QEII marina or nearer to St Sampson's Harbour.
It was also directed to carry out an assessment of the impacts, practicalities, and potential benefits of relocating some commercial port operations away from St Peter Port, and to report back to the States by December 2020.
I am pleased to report that the first element, the Future Harbour Requirements Study, has now been completed.
That work included collating data on port usage across all the various sectors, and generating forecasts of long-term demand between now and 2050. There was also engagement with key stakeholders, including commercial port users and the leisure marine sector, to gather feedback both on current requirements, existing facilities, and anticipated trends.
All this information was used to produce a detailed future demand study, together with an assessment of the spatial and layout requirements to enable safe and efficient operation of the ports, both from the perspective of the harbour authorities and the many users of these facilities. A number of potential options were then developed that could accommodate these requirements, for all of the various sectors, either within the confines and immediate vicinity of the current harbours, or in a new location.
The main data gathering and stakeholder engagement began in 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. However the subsequent restrictions on travel to and from island, and the lockdowns here and in the UK, impacted on this initial phase of the project. For instance, the furloughing of staff by some of the ports' key business partners delayed some critical data that was required to inform the future demand study. Much of this could not be provided until those staff returned to work.
As well as delays in the demand study, some fieldwork elements were also impacted. For instance, a study to better understand the impacts of tides and currents, particularly around St Sampson's, was delayed due to the requirement for off-island personnel to install specialist tide and current measurement devices.
The commencement of this study was therefore postponed, until alternative arrangements could be put in place.
Despite the best endeavours of the Project Team, these delays have meant this work took longer than anticipated. However the Future Harbour Requirement Study was finally completed last month, which addresses the first part of the requête.
Work on the remaining elements, namely an assessment of the impacts, practicalities, and potential benefits of relocating some commercial port operations away from St Peter Port, is dependent on the outputs of the Future Harbour Requirements Study. The Project Team has been progressing this further work at pace, and a period of engagement with relevant States Committees and key stakeholders is planned to commence very soon.
As members would expect, the Project Team is also working closely, at officer level, with the Seafront Enhancement Area project to ensure that both work streams are aligned.
Furthermore, since the tide and current data has been received, the Team is now commissioning a navigational simulation of a number of the high level options identified for potential future port developments. The local marine pilots are assisting with this study, which will assess the feasibility of each option, in terms of manoeuvring vessels at varying states of the tide.
Once all this work is complete, STSB will present to the States a robust Policy Letter, setting out in detail the findings of all our investigations, with clear recommendations for the Assembly to consider.
Regrettably, given the delays that were encountered this year, we are not in a position to report back by December 2020, as was originally intended.
Therefore I would wish to inform the Assembly it is the STSB's intention to deliver that Policy Letter in time for debate in June 2021.