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Proposed Marina development at Ramsey 31 July 2007

The Department of Transport would like to clarify its position with respect to the development of a marina at Ramsey in light of comments made on Manx Radio by Mr Duncan Bridges of the Manx Wildlife Trust on Mandate AM on Thursday 26th July 2007. Mr Bridges is obviously concerned that impounding part of the harbour over low water, to create a marina, would have an adverse environmental impact.

Captain Michael Brew, Director of Harbours, said:

‘The Department is committed to minimising any adverse environmental impact when carrying out any of its schemes. It wishes to work closely with interested parties, including Manx Wildlife Trust, to ensure that this occurs.’

In his interview, Mr Bridges expressed concern for the lower Sulby River and from his comments this appears to refer to the section of river immediately upstream of the Bowring Road Bridge, and not the harbour itself. For Mr Bridges’ concerns to be realised, the impounded water level would need to be higher than the small weir situated below the bridge.

It has never been the Department’s intention in previous schemes, nor with the present scheme, to retain water in the harbour at a level higher than this weir. It is likely that any impounded water level will be about one metre below the top of the weir. Provided that the retained water level is below the top of the weir at Bowring Road Bridge, the lower Sulby River will be unaffected by any development of the harbour. For example, ground water levels, tidal patterns and periods and water salinity will remain the same as they are now.

The Department is at the beginning of a process that will consider the various development options. This will result in the main water impounding options being considered and for each option an environmental impact assessment will be prepared. At the end of this process the information gathered will be made available so that the public can make an informed decision as to which is the preferred option.

The Department’s current programme is as follows:

2007; 
July - December incl.Commission sketch designs of options for impounding water;
 Obtain environmental information, traffic surveys etc for each option
2008; 
JanuaryComplete gathering information on development options
February - May incl.Public consultation
June and JulyDepartment to consider outcome of consultation;
 Determine preferred water impounding option for further development
August - DecemberCommission further design work on preferred option;
 Commssion further environmental assessment, if necessary
2009: 
MarchSubmit planning application

The Department has convened a consultation group to assist in developing the main options for the scheme. Membership of this group follows a similar formula used successfully with the construction of the water impounding scheme in Peel and also used to establish a similar group at Port St Mary.

The membership is as follows:

Tynwald Members, Ramsey Town Commissioners, Manx Sailing and Cruising Club, Manx Fish Producers Organisation, Mezeron, Ramsey Steam Ship Company, Island Cement, Chamber of Commerce and Booth W Kelly Ltd, operators of the shipyard. Representatives from other organisations will be considered by the Department for membership following a request from the Consultation Group.

The Department considers that, by consulting representatives of organisations whose members use the harbour and other community and business representatives, a broad range of views will be obtained.

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