26 Mar

On Friday 22nd March 2024, our CEO and some of our volunteer Commissioners attended a special "task force" meeting about the discolouration of the water in Whitehaven Harbour. 

The meeting was chaired by Copeland MP Trudy Harrison and involved key agencies, authorities and regulators, from local to national, in an attempt to address the ongoing problem.

The appearance of our gem of a harbour and the reputation of our Georgian town is being blighted by the issue of iron ochre in our water, believed to be from old mine workings. It is having an impact on all harbour users - both recreation and commercial - and the town as a whole. We share everyone's frustrations that there is still no agreed solution in place.

As the landowners we completely understand the community looking to us for answers. Frustratingly, we cannot control what comes out of the culvert into our dock and are victims of the contaminated water ourselves - as are all the harbour users. It's hard to provide answers when the circumstances are out of our hands.

At Friday's meeting we were told about work to collate significant data and other key information that will help determine the most likely solutions to the ongoing problem. Each of the agencies have clearly been working hard to get answers but haven't been very good at communicating what they've been doing. We've been assured that will change, results will be shared and everything fed into one main "information pot" to support the options for solutions and the case for funding.

We are grateful to Trudy and others who helped bring all the agencies together around the table and look forward to the next meeting, with the view to a solution being agreed and delivered within months.

This has been an issue for 16 months already and has caused significant material, financial and reputational damage to many individuals, organisations and businesses.

The harbour and its users need a solution in place as a matter of urgency and WHC will continue to support our MP as she pushes for this to happen.

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