Plan to secure economic future of Yorkshire harbours and ports

Whitby.   Photo: Ceri Oakes/RNLI
Whitby. Photo: Ceri Oakes/RNLI
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A STRATEGY to safeguard the economic future of fishing harbours on the Yorkshire coast are to be drawn up to bring their historic roles into the 21st century.

Scarborough Borough Council’s portfolio holder for harbours Coun Mike Cockerill said the area’s economy has the chance to benefit from the planned major offshore wind developments taking place in the North Sea.

The coble landing at Filey.

The coble landing at Filey.

A report to the council’s cabinet meeting tomorrow says a strategy is needed to secure the future of Scarborough harbour - originally built from 40 oak trees given by King Henry 111 in 1225, the port in Whitby, which was built in the 1600s and Filey’s coble landing.

Coun Cockerill said: “The strategy needs to be a living document which evolves over time. The offshore wind development, with the Dalby Offshore Services happening in Whitby is something which the area’s ports need to be able to make the most of.”

There are plans for a major off-shore windfarm with some 2,500 turbines in the North Sea at Dogger Bank.

The council’s directors, Trevor Watson and Nick Edwards, said the plans were to make Scarborough and Whitby harbours “leading undertakings of their kind by 2030”.

Schemes will include investing in infrastructure at the harbours, and developing opportunities for commercial fishing, leisure and tourism.

The action plan will also aim to provide a “welcoming environment for innovation, business and investment and improve the social and community value of the ports”, according to the directors.

The council, as the port authority, will take on the responsibility of developer and it has set up a development group.

Public workshops involving members of the fishing industry, leisure sector leaders, town councils and other stakeholders are to be held throughout the autumn and winter.

The report says the ports are regionally important economic hubs for commercial fishing, charter and passenger ships, tourism, boat building and chandlery. It added: “By virtue of their geographical location in the central North Sea, the ports sit at the centre of the Round three UK offshore wind sector. The ports are ideally placed to benefit from the merging offshore wind industry and development.”

The report says 300 new jobs are set to be created at Whitby alone through the off-shore wind industry within the next year.

The harbours currently have an annual income of £1.7m.

However in recent years, the increased size of cargo ships has meant the harbours can no longer accommodate them.