'Hundreds of jobs at risk' over broken sea gate

'hundreds of jobs at risk' over broken sea gate

The gate around Glasson Dock, near Lancaster, was raised last year months after it got stuck in a lowered position during engineering work

Hundreds of jobs are at risk because a hydraulic sea gate cannot be lowered to let vessels in or out, a port authority has claimed.

The gate around Glasson Dock, near Lancaster, is stuck, meaning ships and boats cannot enter the inner harbour.

Lancaster Port Commission said it is in disagreement with the Environment Agency (EA) over responsibility for the gate and its costs and is seeking legal advice.

The EA has been contacted for comment.

Glasson Dock’s 38-year-old hydraulic sea gate became stuck in a lowered position last year, meaning tides flowed in and out, uncontrolled. Silt filled-up much of the inner dock and a high water level could not be maintained.

The Environment Agency and others authorities, including Lancaster City Council staff, delivered sand bags or offered advice to residents and businesses at Glasson last August and September, when there were flooding fears around high seasonal tides.

Eventually, the broken sea gate was raised using special gear and further investigations were expected.

'hundreds of jobs at risk' over broken sea gate

Sandbags were delivered to homes and businesses last August and September

But now, the sea gate is reportedly stuck upright, meaning ships and boats cannot enter or leave the inner harbour or Glasson Marina beyond, which links to the Lancaster Canal.

Lancaster Port Commission, which runs Glasson Dock, said in a statement posted on social media that it was “increasing pressure on the Environment Agency to reinstate a working dock gate at the port”.

It added: “When the Environment Agency took control of the dock gate in September 2023, it was capable of being fully lowered. When it was handed back to the port in February 2024, the dock gate could not be lowered.

“The gate is now stuck in an upright position. This is preventing boats getting into the marina and it means the port is in breach of its open port duty.”

The port authority said that the port had been providing import and export facilities to local businesses for over two centuries.

“Its operations support more than 200 local and regional jobs. All this is at risk because the Environment Agency has changed its position on its responsibility for a working gate,” the statement added.

The port commission said it did not have the “millions of pounds” required to fix the gate.

It added: “We have been led to believe the Environment Agency could fund much of the work. The agency now says the cost is for the port to bear.

“It is not just us who are deeply impacted. Our port users, neighbours and community are very concerned. That is why we are speaking publicly about the changed position of the Environment Agency.

“We are taking legal advice and asking for support from government contacts to help us resolve this situation.”

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