29 May

As the Statutory Harbour Authority for Whitehaven, and a Trust Port, we share our community’s frustrations that the appearance of our harbour and the reputation of our Georgian town is being blighted by the ongoing issue of iron ochre in our water.

The content has been analysed and appears to be linked to mines. Although it is known to be running through a nearby railway tunnel and then entering the harbour via a culvert into Queen’s Dock, the actual source has not yet been identified, mainly due to the number of historic mines in this area.

We wish to stress the colour is not caused by sewage.

It was first reported on 14th November 2022 and it is unacceptable that, to date, there is still no agreed solution in place. It is having an impact on all harbour users - both recreational and commercial - and the town as a whole.

We do not control what comes out of the culvert into our harbour and are restricted over what action we can take.

Possible treatments and/or diversion options have been researched by experts, but all likely solutions need significant data to be provided to the regulators over a sustained period, which is currently happening, then funding and licences to be secured.

In the meantime, we meet regularly with various organisations, experts and advisors to share knowledge and identify next steps.

This issue has caused significant material, financial and reputational damage to many individuals, organisations and businesses in the town and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

We will provide a further update as soon as we can.

* The email will not be published on the website.