Risk of damage and loss might cost £129 million if piers & extensions fail

Risk Assessment.  The Whitby Coastal Strategy 2, adopted by Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) in 2012, recognised the critical importance of the Whitby Harbour structures to the overall flood and coastal defence system across the wider Strategy frontage, as well as directly to the harbour itself.

A recent SBC report (17/71. 23 Mar 2017) stated that SBC has the ability but not the duty to carry out coastal protection works under the Coastal Protection Act 1949. However, Whitby Piers are essential Harbour structures as well as Coastal Defence structures. As the Statutory Harbour Authority for Whitby Harbour, SBC does have a duty to maintain harbour structures and facilitate safe use of the harbour. It also has a duty of care against loss caused by the authority’s negligence.

Question 4: Would you please confirm that the SBC Risk Assessments for the Whitby Piers Refurbishment project will henceforth include the risks resulting from SBC not meeting its duties as the Statutory Harbour Authority?

The SBC grant application to the Environment Agency in 2012 estimated that if no action was taken (the ‘Do Nothing’ option) and should the Piers and Extensions fail, the damage to property, tourism and amenity, loss of historic environment, loss of harbour function, etc could amount to £129 million.

Question 5:  Would you please confirm that SBC’s insurance reserve are sufficient to cover any loss of life or damage to vessels and property resulting from a breach / failure of the Piers and Extensions, which was attributable to SBC’s negligence in maintaining the harbour?

(Extract from the Open Letter sent by Fight4Whitby to Scarborough Borough Council on 3 April 2017).

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