Arbroath harbour is to finally be dredged after months of delays.
It was feared boats, including the local lifeboat and local fishermen, would soon be unable to leave the harbour due to a build up of debris.
Worried fishermen feared their business could be affected by the delay, but a licence for the dredging could not be issued due to a mystery objector.
But on Wednesday, Angus Council confirmed a licence had been issued and work will start “as soon as possible”.
The row centred around Scottish Government agency Marine Scotland waiting to grant a licence to Angus Council to allow them to dredge the harbour.
This should have been done in the early spring of this year but was delayed after objections were made.
It has not been revealed who has objected.
Harbour master in Arbroath, Bruce Fleming, said silt – a build-up of sand, soil and other debris – was causing problems for boats trying to access the harbour.
“This makes it more difficult for boats to enter and leave the harbour,” he said.
“It also cuts down the window in which boats can do so during times of low tide.”
He said that the situation was “very frustrating” for everyone affected.
He added: “This is an unusual situation.
“The harbour should have been dredged months ago but the objections caused us concerning delays.
“This was obviously not an ideal situation. The harbour has still been open for business as usual but this situation can’t go on indefinitely.”
The dredging contract for 2021 was awarded to Peter Madsen Rederi last year with a proposed dredge planned for this spring.
Arbroath councillor Brenda Durno contacted Angus Sotuh MSP Graeme Dey before it was announced the licence had been granted.
“The dredging of the harbour has been delayed causing problems for boats and potentially the lifeboat,” she said.
“Before any dredging disposal at sea could be carried out Angus Council had to apply to Marine Scotland for a licence.
“Sampling analysis of the silt in all parts of the harbour was carried out last autumn with the dredging and sea disposal licence application submitted in December.
“I have been working with Marine Scotland offering further details and information as they require in order to progress the application and get the harbour dredged.”
Meantime local fishermen were concerned if the situation dragged on too long it could affect their business.
One fisherman, who asked not to be named said: “The harbour should have been dredged months ago.
“If it continues not to be dredged silt will build up, potentially affecting the times we can enter and leave the harbour, impacting our catch and trade.”
SNP MSP Mr Dey said he contacted government ministers to find a solution to the problem.
On Wednesday afternoon it was confirmed the licence had been granted.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We recognise the issues faced at Arbroath Harbour and have concluded the licensing process.
“A licence to commence dredging operations has now been issued.”
An Angus Council spokesperson added: “We were granted a licence on Wednesday by Marine Scotland.
“We will be in touch with the contractor today to notify them of this update, with work starting as soon as possible.”