Marine licence application for berth replacement project at Ramsgate Port withdrawn

The old Berth 4/5

A Thanet council project to replace berth 4/5 at Ramsgate Port has been further delayed and an application for a marine licence submitted last year has been withdrawn.

Floating Berth 4/5 transfers aggregates from ship to shore but the existing berth was decommissioned in November 2020 when Thanet council said it needed to be removed “as a matter of urgency.”

Brett Aggregates, which uses the berth, is currently bringing gravels in by road to the site at the Port of Ramsgate

Brett Aggregates at Ramsgate Port

The berth replacement work was originally postponed until early this year after Thanet council said that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was needed. The authority said this would mean a delay in works until October this year.

However, works are still delayed and the marine licence application has now been withdrawn until the EIA, which assesses the effects that a project may have on the environment and people, is completed.

A Thanet council spokesperson said the application will be resubmitted next year.

They said: “The Marine Licence Application for berth 4/5 has been withdrawn and will be resubmitted following the completion of an Environmental Impact Assessment. It is anticipated that the new licence application will be made early next year (2022).”

(UPDATE NOV 19) Council leader Ash Ashbee said: “Following the decision of Cabinet on Thursday 29 July 2021, to progress the required Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposed replacement of Berth 4/5 at the Port of Ramsgate, it has been decided to withdraw the previous marine licence application with the intention of resubmitting a new application in January 2022.

“This will ensure that both the outline planning and Marine Management Organisation licence applications can run concurrently. It remains the intention for construction to commence in May 2022.

“The output of the EIA will be an Environmental Statement which will inform both the planning prior approval application and also the new marine licence application to the Marine Management Organisation.

“Both the planning prior approval application and the marine licence application will be subject to a 42 day consultation period.”

Project costs

The costs for the project have spiralled from an original £1.497 million budget to £2.322million.

The hike in cost has been blamed on the “unanticipated delay” due to the need for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be undertaken for planning and marine licence consents.

The council says it has a contractual obligation with Brett Aggregates to provide a berth for the handling of aggregates and a tender was awarded to Bam Nuttall last year for the replacement of the berth, using one of the pontoons that was formerly part of a two-for-one deal rejected by councillors in December 2019.

A report to councillors in July this year asking for approval of the further costs said: “The delay in progressing and completing the project has directly impacted upon the overall scheme cost. The additional costs (over and above the approved £1.497m budget value) as a result of the delay are estimated at £825k, bringing the revised total estimated costs to £2.322m.”

Replacement pontoon

Bam Nuttall pontoon ( 2019) Photo Brian Whitehead

The replacement pontoon will mean there is capability for a hike in capacity for the aggregate conveyor belt. The old berth supported a 400 tonne per hour conveyor belt and was capable of docking 90m vessels.

The new berth will be fitted with a permanently fixed 3,000 tonne/hour conveyor… “to facilitate future expansion for the landing of bulk cargos, the trafficking of mobile plant and with a lifespan of a minimum of 30 years.” It will be capable of docking 120m vessels.

Old berth in green, proposed new in red

The now withdrawn marine application from TDC says: “The replacement pontoon berth will fulfil the same purpose as the existing berth – unloading gravel and sand from vessels into a hopper and conveyor system fixed onto the pontoon, delivering the aggregate to shore, where it is stored by the terminal operator.”

County Councillor Karen Constantine, who represents Ramsgate at KCC, said: “Who’s going to foot this increased bill? The people of Ramsgate are sick to the back teeth of paying for mistake after mistake at TDC. It’s quite wrong and deliberately misleading of TDC to say the costs are increasing due to the need for an EIA.

“A development of this type, in a sensitive area adjacent to Pegwell Bay SSSI, was always going to need an EIA. Indeed the specialised nature of our coastal ecology should always be of paramount importance. It is also the reason why any increase in either aggregate activity or handling of waste will always be unacceptable as a high risk activity. As we have seen with Southern Water, pollution is a serious matter.

“I raised the need for an EIA in 2016.  I advised TDC in 2018 that it was their responsibility and not KCC’s to undertake one. TDC have therefore had ample time and opportunity to tackle this issue. If the Chief Executive has failed to deal with this matter, resulting in an even higher cost to the public purse, she should do the right thing and resign.”

Aggregate berth at Ramsgate Port will be replaced by Bam Nuttall pontoon despite former rejection of ‘direct deal’

Cost of aggregates berth replacement project at Ramsgate Port spirals to £2.3million


  1. “The hike in cost has been blamed on the “unanticipated delay” due to the need for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be undertaken for planning and marine licence consents.” That should not be unanticipated. Of course an EIA is required,and TDC should not have progressed without one. This really does call into doubt the competency of the senior officers at TDC. Why hasn’t Ms Homer and Mr Waite resigned yet, it can’t be long before they both go.

  2. The Pantomime continues…

    Hopefully the Eia currently in progress, gives the green light and the berth can be installed without any other financial issues.

    Oh yes it can…

  3. Does the hike in costs include the previously reported 11k a week ( iirc) for the cost of road transport incurred by Bretts? Strange how none of this popped up in the budget meeting reported a week or so back , or was the decision to withdraw the application conveniently delayed to avoid revealing it then. So if its not submitted until next year it seems unlikely the new berth will be in place until 2023 if so and the road transport costs are 11k a week , where does the extra 600 odd k come from?
    Cue the circus music

  4. Odd that those two ugly Bam Nuttall pontoons were originally being looked after temporarily. Then suddenly TDC got a chance to buy one rusty old pontoon, get one free from Bam Nuttall. Now TDC have, after many years of residents’ complaints, had to admit an EIA certificate is needed after all – which should have been completed before Brett’s even set foot on Port Ramsgate. But as the port is by a sensitive marine conservation are, just perhaps they knew it would never get permission, so ignored it? The whole project stinks!

  5. It’s about time that we had new leadership in TDC. For far to long we’ve had Homer and Waites wasting taxpayers money. Is there no way that these two can be removed or are we stuck with them forever?

  6. September last year IoTN reported that Green councillor Becky Wing had asked TDC for the business and finance plan, and engineers report. She told TDC that the berth purchase and uses should be made public. “In a fiery exchange with council chief executive Madeline Homer, Cllr Wing questioned whether the reports even existed.”

    Cllr Wing has been refused the full reports despite these being pertinant to her role as Clkr for Central Harbour.

    It would be good to hear from Cllr Wing what the current situation is.

  7. What will be the ££££££££££££££££££ costs to Thanet residents in the form of compensation.
    It really is time Snr Managers employed by TDC at the residents expense carried their own liability insurance.

  8. How does Ramsgate benefit from this company being perched on our port washing gravel and why does TDC want to pay for their operating needs?

    Smells like expansion to me.

    • I’d guess that at the time the lease was negotiated it represented ( in theory) the best use of that piece of land at the time. The lease it would seem included use of the loading berth for Bretts business activity so once the berth was no longer available for use TDC will be in breach of the lease and so is liable for the additional costs Bretts incur.
      The real questions to ask are why there was not sufficiently good management in place both at the time the lease was written to ensure that berth maintenance/ replacement costs were properly considered and planned for and that the people in charge of it all did their job properly in terms of maintenance etc.
      Looks as though it’ll be well over a million in road transport fees alone, all before the costs of the removal and replacement of the berth, i’ll chuck an estimate for that at being at least 3 million so 4 million all told, Does anyone know what rent Bretts pay?

  9. If it turns out that Brett’s activities do not cause pollution, then there will be no reason for them not to be sited on the port.

  10. Bretts could bring in aggregates via a self discharging vessel, was done in ramsgate before. There is a youtube video DC Vlaanderen 3000. Just bring in cement by road tankers, job done !

    No need for a new berth, problem solved.

    Just needs people in charge, with the can do attitude

    • Who would pick up the bill to make this change over , if it is technically possible in this particular situation, not just the bill for the new dredger but any subsequent costs that Bretts may incur as a result of not being provided the facilities in the lease.
      The can do attitude was needed in the past when the lease and the responsibilities within it were drawn up by TDC and in the years since in the way the port has been managed.
      It may not be difficult to summise that the original agreement was made in haste and on the cheap , hich has now turned round and bitten Thanet.
      Though no doubt the truth will never be known.

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