Annual Public Mtg October 2018


Printable pdf Notes Annual Public Meeting 23 October 2018

Notes of the ANNUAL PUBLIC MEETING of the Commissioners held at the Blackwater Sailing Club, Heybridge Basin,on Thursday, 23 October 2018 at 7.30 pm

IN THE CHAIR:  Jim Dines, Chairman, Commissioners

ATTENDANCE:  The meeting was attended by representatives from:
Blackwater Sailing Club
Heybridge Basin SA
Heybridge Lock Keeper
Landbreach Ltd
Maldon District Council
Maldon Harbour Improvement Commissioners
Maldon Little Ship Club
Maldon Town Council
Maldon Yacht Club
Thames Sailing Barge Trust

with Apologies from the National Trust.


The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.  He thanked the Blackwater Sailing Club for the use of their premises, both for this meeting and for the Joint River Safety Meeting.  He explained that MHIC had moved their Annual Public Meeting to later in the year to enable the opportunity of discussing matters at the end of the season.

The members of the meeting introduced themselves.


The Chairman reviewed the work of the MHIC

Liaison with MDC – MHIC and MDC held regular Liaison meetings.  The topic of the extension to the Visitors’ Pontoon had been discussed.  Currently there was no funding available, but the Commissioners were keen to push the project forward.  The Chairman asked the meeting to let the Commissioners know of any issues in the Harbour and they would raise these at the MHIC/MDC Liaison meetings.

Light Pollution – The cause of the light pollution from the tennis courts had been identified and the lights adjusted.  If there were further light pollution problems affecting the Harbour, MHIC would like to know.

Webcams – MHIC were installing webcams in collaboration with Maldon Little Ship Club.  These would provide views up and down the river.  It was planned to provide a live stream to the website to show the state of the river.  Installation at MLSC should be soon and MDC were assisting with the technical side and ensuring that it was GDPR compliant.

Debris Removal – MHIC took regular action to remove debris including logs, sunken dinghies, plastic sheets etc from the Harbour.  The Chairman asked the meeting to let the Commissioners know of any debris, either floating or on the mud.

A question was raised regarding two large lumps of timber on the salting opposite the Promenade.  The Commissioners had raised this with the River Bailiff.

Foul Discharge – some locations had been identified and MHIC had asked that Environmental Health investigate.

Dredging – MHIC participated in the Siltation Committee which gave guidance on the most effective dredging of the channel.

Buoy Damage – This was a considerable expense.  There had been several unreported instances.  The Chairman pointed out that this was an offence and asked that the Commissioners be informed of any damage so that buoys could be repaired.

GDPR – MHIC were compliant.

Port Marine Safety Code – This was reviewed regularly and was available on the MHIC website.

Risk Assessments – A template was available on the MHIC website.  There had only been one incident reported.  This involved a sailing barge and a sailing dinghy.  No action had been required.

Port Guide – This was available on the MHIC website.

Port Waste Management Plan – This was currently on-going.


Commissioner Hiner reported that regular checks, inspections, cleaning and maintenance were carried out.  This amounted to 300+ man-hours including the use of a work boats, all unpaid.

There had been collision damage, mostly unreported, including substantial damage to Buoys 11 and 15.  In January 2018 Buoy No 15 (lit buoy) suffered extensive unreported collision damage and was found in a sinking condition.  A new plastic foam-filled buoy had been fitted at a cost of £1070 excluding light and mooring tackle.

Overhaul and exchange of buoyage and tackle was on-going.  Retro-reflective tape was being fitted to overhauled/new buoys to enhance visibility.


The Chairman reviewed the Annual Statement.  Insurance, obtained after considering 4 or 5 quotes, had been chosen on the basis of suitability, inclusion of wreck removal clause and best cost.  MHIC currently had £15,000+ in the bank allowing a “buffer” for emergencies.

Harbour Dues – Remained the same as the previous year.


Siltation and Dredging – Dredging is on-going.  Barges can get out of their berths.  Dredging the Quay was an issue for MDC and the barge operators.

Discharge at the Public Hard – The Environment Agency had been asked to investigate.  The Chairman stated that he and the Queens Head had carried out some investigation which was inconclusive.

Further discussion identified that the discharge at the Queens Head was a separate issue from the general smell.

The Heybridge Lock Keeper commented on a sea weed smell.

There was also comment that the road drains had seemed to be blocked solid.

An intermittent green layer on the mud in the vicinity of the Blackwater Sailing Club was noted, possibly caused by algae.

Acceleration of Siltation – there was a comment that this seemed to be accelerating over the years.  Discussion and comments included water extraction by Essex and Suffolk; the lack of commercial traffic, pleasure boats or fishermen to stir the silt up; compaction by wildlife followed by plants taking root; the lack of rain over the last few winters to wash the silt out.

Commissioner Cardy stated that Essex and Suffolk Water are undertaking pre-emptive dredging rather than waiting until the channel depth was down to a minimum.

A question was raised regarding mud in the boatyards.  It was acceptable for yards to wash the mud away, but dredging and dumping required a licence.

Gravel by Sadds Wharf was being dredged out.

Business in the Harbour – The Chairman commented on the health of the Harbour, noting that the boatyards and yacht clubs are busy.

The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and for their contributions.  The meeting was closed at 8.25 pm.