Tuesday 31 October 2023
Stakeholders express support for Wick Harbour Authority following Storm Babet damage
Wick Harbour Authority has chaired an urgent meeting following significant damage during Storm Babet and the ongoing Easterly gales hitting the north east coast.
Wick was one of many harbours across the UK to suffer damage during the storm, which brought some of the worst weather conditions in recent history. Wind speeds exceeding 70 knots and wave heights in excess of 10m were observed at the peak of the storm. Gale force winds have now been continual for almost two weeks.
The wave action on the outer harbour at Wick unfortunately caused damage to the North Pier Harbour Entrance which now requires emergency stabilisation.
Wick Harbour Authority has taken immediate action to address the situation. On 23 October, WHA called an emergency meeting with Marine Scotland, and further appraised all stakeholders of the damage, issuing daily updates.
On Monday 30 October, more than 40 stakeholders attended an emergency meeting convened by WHA at SSE BOWL’s Wick office.
The Harbour Board provided a detailed damage appraisal together with a proposed engineering solution and outline costs. WHA has already obtained tenders for emergency remedial works which will protect the outer harbour. These works can be commenced as soon as funding is secured.
All attendees (attendee list provided below) reiterated their support for Wick Harbour, which is one of the most economically significant ports in the Highlands. Both public and private sector stakeholders agreed to collaborate to secure emergency investment to protect the port.
Whilst those discussions are underway, WHA has emergency contingency plans in place should any further damage occur.
Prior to the storm, Wick Harbour Authority had already prepared a business case for investment in the port. This investment would deliver significant improvements to the harbour entrance, addressing the wave climate in the Outer Harbour and allowing for an expansion of O&M activity. This long term strategic plan would provide enhanced protection for future extreme weather events and position Wick as an ideal base for onshore and offshore wind developments.
WHA said: “Wick Harbour Authority would like to express our thanks to the 40+ stakeholders , businesses and agencies who attended an emergency meeting yesterday. We are confident that a solution can be found to make good the damage caused by Storm Babet and in the meantime the Harbour remains open for business.”
Wick Harbour Authority, Harbour Office, WICK, KW1 5HA
Wick Harbour Authority, SSE Renewables , Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Highland Council, Focus North, Siemens Gamesa, Dounreay Sustainability & Socio Economics, Jamie Stone MP, Caithness Chamber of Commerce, Aurora Energy Services, RNLI, Subsea 7, Crown Estate Scotland, Scottish Renewables