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January 2007

Report to Estuary Forum Meeting Monday 15th January 2007
Taw Torridge estuary and Bideford Harbour. 


Bideford shipping has increased since the last report and overall has continued the trend since 2002 low numbers when the quayside was being built.

Tonnes of clay exported :  Calender Years. (Actual)

2002 = 20000 tonnes 
2003 = 40000 tonnes
2004 = 37500 tonnes 18 ships ave capacity is 2083 t. 
2005 = 44000 tonnes 20 ships ave capacity is 2200 t.
2006 = 58,100 tonnes 23 ships. ave capacity is 2526 t.
It can be seen that the average size and therefore the cargo capacity of ships has increased steadily, as well as number of visits.

Bideford quay has been busy with visiting work boats, also a visit in September by the coastal passenger vessel Balmoral (with over 200 passengers) and an import of salt for local Devon and Cornish depots (the first for many years) and at present is the base for the supply of all materials to Lundy by chartered ex marines landing craft Pont Menai. The materials are being used for the million pound repair of the collapsing Lundy road.

The serious navigational problems caused by the accumulation of sand in the river have been successfully overcome by the process of removing the same from the berths, and taking away. The lack of rainwater scouring the channels had led to this problem up until the rains started. The rain has now helped to remove some of the millions of tonnes of sand from the channels back down river. 

Trinity House London have spent two days with myself seeing the night and daytime estuary hazards, and have agreed to adding two more lights near the confluence of the two rivers to aid shipping. (First requested a year and a half ago). Requests to improve the channel marking within the estuary will follow.

Torridge has the opportunity to take over the lease of areas of river bed from Bideford to Yelland from the Crown after North Devon District gave up their lease. TDC are considering the benefits and responsibilities of doing so, and the will decide within the next month or so.

Bideford Harbour Board with its new Chief executive, Ricky Mccormack was taken on a tour of the harbour on board mv Datchet (boats, wrecks and houseboats) and estuary and out to sea to see at first hand the operation of boarding the Pilot and following a large ship into port.

Texaco have kept the ownership of their oil jetty at Yelland, and all the connecting pipes also leading to speculation that tankers will return to the estuary in due course.


Roger Hoad Pilot / HM 
Taw Torridge/ Bideford

 
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