Angus Council is seeking a licence to dredge a greater amount of silt to keep Arbroath’s flagship marina as clear as possible.
Shearwater Dredging Ltd has been awarded the contract to remove 12,000 cubic metres of silt from the inner and outer harbours as well as the navigational channel.
They are expected to be in place as soon as the licence is in place and consent has been granted by the Crown Estate Commissioners.
Arbroath councillor Bob Spink said: “Dredging is necessary to keep the harbour as clear and navigable as possible to allow us to maintain the high level of amenity the harbour enjoys.
“As long as we have tides and winds we will have silt. What we must do is always be aware that we must keep check on the silt and seek the most environmentally friendly means of its disposal and at an affordable cost.
“This is what Marine Scotland and Angus Council are bound by law to do thus the testing and checking which will no doubt be registered in the bigger picture.
“We are seeking a licence to dredge a greater amount of silt for the current level is proving to be insufficient to allow us to keep the harbour as clear as we are finding necessary to service the growing number of vessels of all types using the harbour and I still expect us to be successful in our application.”
Marine Scotland are yet to approve a new three-year licence to dispose of dredged material at sea.
As part of the licence application a Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) report and chemical analysis of the silt within the harbour was carried out.
The results of the chemical analysis found a high content of metals such as chromium, copper, nickel and zinc.
This is giving Marine Scotland cause for concern and they requested that further chemical analysis and particle size analysis was carried out on more samples of silt.
The BPEO has also had to be updated to reflect the results of all the additional analysis and to reinforce that dumping at sea is the optimum proposal for disposal of the silt.
Mr Spink added: “All test results have gone to Marine Scotland and we await their response.
“We certainly do not anticipate any refusal of our licence to dredge the harbour.
“They, and we, are bound by law to seek the BPEO for disposal of the dredged silt.
“I suspect that other similar harbours may produce the same results.
“Dredging has been carried out at Arbroath harbour for as long as I can remember.
“I was born and brought up at 1 Shore just a streets width away from the dock where our own dredger, the Fairport, was permanent ally moored and at a time when Arbroath had a large fishing fleet as well as regularly visiting coasters shipping cement, potatoes, lime etc.”
The waiting list for pontoon berths currently stands at 40 names.
Six pontoon berths will remain as visitor berths; the remaining 53 berths will be occupied as annual berths.