Councillors approve 119m aggregate berth ‘replacement’ at Ramsgate Port

Bam Nuttall pontoon ( 2019) to be used for the berth replacement Photo Brian Whitehead

Thanet District Council’s Planning Committee tonight (May 18) approved an application for the installation of a 119m berth at the Port of Ramsgate.

It follows the removal of the previous berth 4/5 in November 2020, which had “reached the end of its operational life”.

The proposed berth consists of a floating pontoon held in place by steel piles.  A hinged gangway will provide access whilst accommodating tidal movement. The berth will be longer and wider than the previous 70m long berth.

The old Berth 4/5

The contract for the berth was awarded to the firm that previously had its direct deal offer of two-for-one pontoons rejected by Thanet council.

The pontoons, owned by construction firm Bam Nuttall, had been the subject of the deal and destined to provide a new berth 4/5 at the port  and to provide extra berthing for wind farm vessels at the Royal Harbour.

Councillors were asked to approve the £1.4million decision to buy the two 75 metre barges but members opted to reject the plan in December 2019.

However, it was put it out to tender but dropping proposals for the second pontoon at the harbour. The contract was then given to Bam Nuttall.

Old berth in green, proposed new in red

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

Last year The Isle of Thanet News revealed the allocation for the project has increased from an original £1.497 million budget to £2.322million.

The rise 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.

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

Brett Aggregates at Ramsgate Port

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.

There has been considerable opposition to the project from councillors and residents.

The council has also submitted a Marine Licence application to the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) for the sea based elements of the proposed development. This licence will be required prior to the start of construction of the berth.

The berth is scheduled to be installed during the summer months to avoid significant impacts on overwintering birds. As construction will be within a commercial port, the council says it is not considered that this would result in a significant impact upon tourism in the area.

The vote to approve was 6 For, 3 Against and 4 Abstained. Green councillors Becky Wing and Mike Garner voted against.


  1. Why are you so keen Penelope? What benefits will the residents of Ramsgate, who have paid for this uncalled for investment, see?

    Please tell us.

    • The costs that we’re incurring for not providing the services in the lease, namely 8 plus k a week for the road transport of aggregate currently

    • Is it not the case that (right or wrong) TDC has a contractual obligation to maintain the berth facility?
      Not to fulfill its obligations could end up just like the ban on live animal exports .. costs and damages of millions against TDC (ie the tax payers)

      • No, the Council can decide to close the loss making port at anytime and Bretts would have to place its seabed scrapings elsewhere. There is no business plan justifying this further waste of public money on top of the 30 million or thereabouts of public money sunk into the sink port. There was never an Environmental Impact Assessment for Bretts, TDC lied and apart from KCC designating Ramsgate as a port for aggregate security, the Port is as meaningless as Parkway Station. We must stop this madness.

        • Are you familiar with the terms of the contract? Will you publish the bit where it says that at any time and without penalty TDC can terminate the contract?
          What’s your house made of? Where did the concrete come from?

          • Are you familiar with the contract? Can you publish the bit where it says that TDC are contractually obliged to replace a berth with another that has a 7 fold increase in capacity?

        • The council should make an effort to encourage green industries to base themselves at the port.

  2. Make a note of which councillors voted this through and do NOT vote for them next year. And note this is only a planning decision. Councillors should block any progress on the plan.

  3. It would be useful to know the revenue that TDC get from Brett Aggregates for the use of the port/this berth and then compare that to the £2.3m cost of the new berth. It may well be less expensive to cancel or buy out the lease from Brett. Another colossal waste of council tax payers money.

  4. It’s about time something has been done about using the Port. At the moment it looks like a right dump. If nobody wants to do anything with the Port let’s go for this and bring some money in.

  5. When Brett’s put the original berth in, extended it, put a new conveyor belt system in and maintained it, how come it is TDC’s responsibility to install a new berth.Who has been paying the business rates on the berth for last 20years. There seem to be lots of unanswered questions, including did the EIA take into account the capital dredging and the on going maintenance dredging , the costs don’t add up unless the frequency of use is going to change dramatically.

  6. So what’s the difference between subsidising the port and subsidising art ?

    Millions of our taxes goes on the TC centre for a small section of the community. Now a few millions on Brett’s.

    • It does matter what you are subsidising with public money if it is not economically viable. TDC and its Councillors on behalf of the ratepayers of Thanet have been subsidising an economically useless port for years. Turner Contemporary was subsidised by the Arts Council, KCC and it not only washes its face but has brought the luxury of tourism and inward investment to Margate through the artwashing formula. If you don’t understand the difference then I suggest you have more to learn.

  7. It would be interesting to know which Director was ultimately responsible for the EIA which should have taken place and whether they have been made accountable for their oversight given it has cost the local taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds.

  8. I’m sure some residents and councillors are living in hope of the dinosaurs coming back, all they ever say is “oh we want that” “ we don’t want an airport “. “ we don’t want another train station” “we don’t want any improvements at the harbour “ “ we don’t want film companies coming to THANET” “ we don’t want houses being built” “ we don’t want visitors coming to OUR area and parking their cars”. “ we don’t want the lights the film company gave the town”
    That is all they ever say about everything, I’d love to see the moaners faces if a dinosaur was walking up the high street they would soon say “ we don’t want that”

    • But will need these pontoons for the electric barges from the freight hub lololol

      Do keep up lol

  9. Does that mean that the ugly eyesore moored alongside the East Pier will finally be removed? If so Yippee!

  10. It would be really helpful if IoTn did a follow-up piece. Name each Cllr at the meeting, how they voted (or abstained) and why.
    Did TDC provide the contract for Cllr’s to consider?
    What is Bretts busines plan for increasing aggregate production?
    Can only one side of the new berth can be used unless TDC start dredging the side by the port wall?
    Why was no EIA done originally so avoiding the “increased costs”?
    With increased production how will the rise in HGV’s using the harbour road be managed?
    What are the cost benefits to TDC? If tax payers are subsidising Bretts how was this decision made and by who and, is ot actually a police matter?

  11. To continue the contractual issue, councillors have not seen the contract or any business plan, so they have made a decision without any evidence. This should never have reached planning.

  12. Pearson, lots of people have plans for the port. But TDC ignores them and instead spends huge amounts of our money on a white (concrete) elephant

    • It doesn’t matter if lots of people have plans for the port if those plans are unrealistic.

      • There is no realistic, economically sustainable plan for the port. The Councillors have had the power to close it on its loss making basis for decades and have been irresponsible by dong so. If KCC wants it for aggregate security then get the Government to pay for it out of general taxation. To continue running at a loss is irresponsible.

  13. Once again the bad mouthing brigade turns up about the council.

    Here is an idea… How about you run for being a Councillor and let’s see if you practice what you preach!

    Nope you’ll just keep on being inactive and not proactive.

  14. Well at least that Hugh pontoon will be moved away from the historical pier, its been slamming into it for long enough.

    So what about the smaller bam pontoon ?

  15. Also a green councillor has stated the port will be under water by 2030, via KCC,statement ,I bet the harbour will not be underwater by then even by 2050, more inflammatory statement by green councillor and KCC,

  16. Ray you might want to read up on the scientists’ predictions. By 2030 the annual flood event will have the port and quite a lot of the coastline underwater. This isn’t inflammatory, it’s highly likely.

  17. A good result at the council meeting , let’s hope the terms of reference are clear and unambiguous.
    Undertake an independent review/audit of the Berth 4/5 project from its inception to the present day with a view to identifying the causes of delay and cost overruns which have beset the project

  18. Make it usable for other types of dry cargo unloading Timber, Small Containers, Woodchipings, for the biomass plant Ect all would bring in much-needed revenue?

  19. Unfortunately the port is in a poor state of repair , with fencing falling down , no visible security and it’s main use appearing to be vehicle and caravan storage, and a few wrecked boats which come from the harbour.
    Once again TDC have squandered an asset rather than improving it. The money that the port estate has earned through the wind farms has been wasted on employment tribunals and legal fees to the detriment of the local residents.

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