Marine licence application submitted for berth replacement works at Ramsgate Port

The old Berth 4/5

A new marine licence application has been submitted to the Marine Management Organisation today (January 28) for the proposed replacement of the aggregate Berth 4/5 at the Port of Ramsgate.

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

An earlier marine licence application was withdrawn in November 2021 following advice from Thanet council in October 2020 due to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) needing to be undertaken.

The revised application will include an Environmental Statement (ES).  This application and the ES will be available on the Marine Management Organisation’s website following validation of the application. The marine licence application will be subject to a 42 day consultation period.

The Environmental Statement is also being used for the ‘prior approval’ planning application which was submitted today. This can be seen via the Thanet District Council website following validation of the application and will be subject to a 30 day consultation period.

If approved, on-site preparatory work is expected to start at the end of May with marine works starting in June.

The berth replacement work was originally postponed until early last 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 last year.

However, the marine licence application was then withdrawn until the EIA, which assesses the effects that a project may have on the environment and people, was completed.

Project costs

Brett Aggregates at Ramsgate Port

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

The hike in cost was 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 in 2020 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 last year asked for approval of the further costs, saying: “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

Thanet council previously said: “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, and Green Party councillor Becky Wing raised issues over the need for the environmental impact study required when the works were first proposed.

Cllr Constantine said: “Inevitably costs will rise if those responsible for this development, both TDC and KCC, evade accountability and insist on dragging their feet.  It took from 2017 until 2020 for me to obtain clarity on whether or not their was an EIA for the Port.

“I have noticed a concerning pattern developing amongst my Conservative counterparts at KCC, regarding concerns being raised and in some cases legal action being taken by residents. Residents should always be free to challenge decisions and Councillor’s like myself and others shouldn’t be continually‘fobbed off’.

“The required consultation should extend to nearby residents. There are several hundred homes within 500 metre radius who must now be consulted properly.”

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

Marine licence application for berth replacement project at Ramsgate Port withdrawn


  1. An inactive Port is a waste of space and money.
    Get some Ferry Companies interested, or, organise Mooring points for more private boat owners to store their precious yachts.
    Don’t do nothing (TDC failing all the time by doing nothing)(or nothink in Thanetian) at all.
    I am sick and tired of listening to puerile excuses on our glorious Port and Airport.
    Just get on with it for the successful future of Thanet.

  2. Like with everything TDC own – the lack of annual maintenance makes things more costly for us, the tax payers when things eventually break. Instead of spending on maintaining equipment, buildings, assets and keeping them going they would rather wait for them to fail and then replace with new. This is not good management with the finances and as we see here it is costing us dearly. Sack the overseers and CEO’s though as they cannot be maintained any longer.

  3. £2.3 million paid for by Thanet residents in a commercial deal, I trust that we are getting a good return on our investment and the harbour account will start being in the black rather than the red.

    • A previously reported £11,000 a week to cover the additional costs of the road transport. Each week since November 2020 and will continue until the new berth is operative.

  4. Given the paltry sum paid annually by Bretts for a good chunk of harbour, there will be no return on the £2.3 million investment. Much better to remove this unsightly and polluting business and generate some real revenue by implementing the port development proposals. More money, more jobs, better for Ramsgate.

  5. An Environmental Statement by TDC is not good enough! A proper EIA Report needs to be done. TDC/KCC still trying to dodge getting one? We live on the West side of the Port near Pegwell village and when the wind is in the right direction, we get the sand and grit from the unsightly mountain at the Port all over our cars and window ledges! It’s even worse when it’s both raining and windy! To enable such a huge increase in aggregate for Brett’s is totally unacceptable.

    • How do you know that the sand is from Brett’s, rather than from the 1,000,000 tonnes on the beach?
      Don’t be ridiculous.

  6. Let the council get on and install the new potoon ,Brett’s have been discharging aggregates for over fifty years at ramsgate more ships the better its a commercial port not a yacht harbour all the newbies to ramsgate should recognise the fact

    • Alan you seem not to be in possession of the facts. The commercial port has been losing money for years, more than £20 million over the last few years. In contrast the yacht harbour (yes, it is the largest part of the port) makes a very healthy profit. Don’t knock the newbies, they are reversing decades of neglect by the B&Bs of Thanet.

  7. Why is TDC spending £2.3 million pounds on the berths? There is no obligation to do so. The Contract with Bretts stipulates a repairing lease, i.e. Bretts are completely responsible for repair and maintenance. Why should they be gifted £2.3 million of our money?

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