The UK’s Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC) is making progress on the Port of Poole Master Plan to modernise the commercial port infrastructure following environmental assessments.

A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of development options for the port have been carried out by engineering, design and consultancy company Ramboll Environ.

Due to the site’s ecological sensitivity, these studies have been key in ensuring that the port can expand its operations whilst protecting the harbour’s environment.

“With the Harbour foreshore’s exceptional ecological value and designation as both a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Protection Area (SPA), it is essential to ensure that any development demonstrates no adverse impact on the harbour and its ecology,” said Roy Emberton, director of environment, Ramboll Environ.

“Our extensive experience in marrying these two interests has meant the Port of Poole will now be able to strengthen and expand their position in the shipping market, bringing economic benefit to the whole region,” he added.

The first stage of the Master Plan will see the creation of South Quay, a new 200m long south-facing quay dredged to 9.0m Below Chart Datum (BCD). PHC says this will provide longer and deeper facilities, enabling the port to continue to compete in the developing shipping market. This development will also raise the height of the quay in order to accommodate predicted increases in sea level rise.

South Quay will be used by a variety of craft such as cruise ships, small container feeder ships, bulk cargo vessels, and possibly wind park construction vessels. The contract for the construction of the steel sheet piled quay has a value of between £5m and £8m.

Services provided by Ramboll Environ on this project include EIA, SEA, Master planning, Optioneering, terrestrial and aquatic ecology, cultural heritage, water and land quality, flood risk, hydrodynamics, noise and vibration, air quality and transport planning.

By Rachael Doyle