News

New Sewage Works Threat to Local Fishing

Arthur (Sandy) Robertson

Arthur (Sandy) Robertson at Clouston’s Pier (F Grahame)

Readers may recall the problem Stromness resident Arthur Robertson has raised with the construction of the improved sewage system for Clouston’s Close. Arthur is all in favour of the improvements but the pipe which has been laid at the historic Clouston’s Pier and noust he has branded as ‘Quango funded vandalism”. The placing of 7 concrete mats on top of a plastic pipe  will seriously limit the usage of the pier and the noust . And there is even a proposal to back fill the area where the concrete platforms are thus seriously limiting access even more.

Orkney Fisheries have now added their serious concerns to the issue. This is their letter to Marine Licensing at Marine Scotland:

“OFA are alarmed at the nature of work taking place in Stromness Harbour as part of the sewerage upgrading scheme.

Users of the private piers were assured that any pipes would be buried. This is not happening. Pipes are being surface laid and then rock dumping is taking place.

One user of his own private pier and slip area who is an active fisherman and member of OFA is witnessing his loading and unloading pier becoming unusable and dangerous. This is due to pipe work, concrete mattress overlaying and now dumping of rubble on top. It is reducing the depth at which he can navigate his fishing boat in and out and puts him at risk of going ashore. In addition a fixed concrete well point has also been installed in the sea again compromising his ability to navigate safely and freely in the area. The safe navigation for this fishermen has been dangerously compromised.

pipe laying

pipe laying Stromness ( Photo Orkney Fisheries)

These pipes should be trenched properly to a depth where they do not impede commercial fishermen and recreational users in their legal navigation uses of their piers and slipways.

This activity is taking place at 3 locations along the Stromness waterfront each at recognised slipways. South end, Alfred st and Cloustons pier(Victoria St)

In addition a pipe is also being surface laid with concrete mattressing and rock dumping at the north end of the bay.

In engineering terms this whole debacle beggars belief – it is seriously over-engineered, residents and users believed pipes would be buried not surface laid and rock dumped. No consultation on access to communal slipways and the change in water depth was discussed or consulted upon. No EIA has taken place on the effects of sediment build up and obstructions to wild life that live around the slipways. Is there an aggregate dumping licence in place? Developers seem to be ignorant to the fact that and rubble and rock dumping will erode as winter swell shifts the deposits and leave the concrete mattressing exposed.

What licence has been issued for this work and what conditions approved?

In the view of OFA this is and extremely serious matter and we would like to know how it reached this point.

We would ask that work cease immediately in order that a reappraisal of the work take place and proper trenching be carried out.”

The Orkney News has not received any comments from Orkney Islands Council but local MSP John Finnie, Scottish Greens has taken up Arthur Robertson’s complaint with Scottish Water. We will continue to keep our readers informed over this serious issue for our local fishing community.

If you would like to know more about Arthur Robertson’s complaint then follow the links:

The Only Remaining Historic Working Pier in Stromness Under Threat 

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

Update from Arthur Robertson

Things are significantly improved by the removal of the concrete mats here at Clouston’s Pier, this still leaves lots of the U shaped concrete weights in place so no danger of the pipe moving behind the shelter of the pier. The “Diffuser” has been temporarily removed and is maybe going to be dug deeper into the seabed.  I certainly think residents should have been involved at the Planning stage and invited to examine plans (with final seabed levels clearly shown). Certainly for a working pier and used Noust with quite a shallow slope on the seabed the method used was unsuitable both from a utility point of view and the impact on a Historic Noust much seen from the piers opposite.

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