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Wells dredging on track

PUBLISHED: 11:08 27 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:08 07 July 2010

Dredging work on the outer harbour at Wells.

Dredging work on the outer harbour at Wells.

A NEW outer harbour which will extend tidal access times into Wells is taking shape as dredging work enters its second phase.

The town's Harbour Commissioners began the work in October in preparation for the building of the £1bn Sheringham Shoal wind farm, whose Norwegian owners will use the port as their operational base.

A NEW outer harbour which will extend tidal access times into Wells is taking shape as dredging work enters its second phase.

The town's Harbour Commissioners began the work in October in preparation for the building of the £1bn Sheringham Shoal wind farm, whose Norwegian owners will use the port as their operational base.

A rectangular section has been carved out of Buxton's Bight - to the east of Beach Road near the lifeboat station - which will house a new jetty and 14 pontoons due to be installed next month. And now the dredger has moved on to the main channel to create a uniform low-tide depth of 1m to connect the new harbour to the North Sea.

The improved channel and new pontoons will allow longer tidal access for service boats and technicians maintaining the wind farm's 88 turbines, due to begin producing energy by the end of 2011.

Wells harbourmaster Robert Smith said, if sufficient mooring space was available, the new harbour could also benefit other commercial vessels or visiting yachts. "All in all it is a very exciting time for the harbour and for Wells - and for the whole of north Norfolk," he said.

The dredged material has been used to form the boundaries of the new marina, which Mr Smith said should take on a more natural appearance over time.

"The first phase of work on the outer harbour is virtually complete, but this is still a work in progress," he said. "We envisage that within six months the finished area will start to look very different. We are going to encourage it to vegetate with sea grasses and when that starts to grow it will look like a natural sand dune and help its stability."

Mr Smith said the preparatory work for the wind farm had already created five full-time jobs in the town, with many more oppor-tunities expected to follow as the development progresses.

The dredger comprises an excavator mounted on a 200-tonne motorised barge named Kari Hege, after the stakeholder manager for Scira, the Norwegian-owned energy company behind the wind farm.

The new outer harbour is due to be operational by the end of March, with an average of 12 boats a day estimated to be using it when Sheringham Shoal is completed.

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