Port bosses are aiming to dig in to boost offshore wind industry projects.
PD Teesport (PDT) is proposing to widen and deepen the approach channel to Victoria Harbour including dredging thousands of cubic metres of material from the seabed.
It is so larger wind turbine installation vessels can access the harbour and is part of a drive by PD Teesport to promote Victoria Harbour as a place that can support offshore wind industry projects.
PD Teesport has applied for a licence from government body the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).
The proposal has the backing of Hartlepool Borough Council subject to various issues being taken into account.
PD Teesport says the harbour is ‘ideally-placed’ to meet the needs of the offshore wind industry because of its proximity to some of the world’s largest offshore wind farms. And 100 acres of land adjacent to the harbour is allocated in the Hartlepool Local Plan to support port-related industrial development and the renewable energy industry.
The port operator said: “As part of the continued development of PD Ports’ operations at Hartlepool and in order to service the needs of our customers, particularly in the offshore market, we plan to widen and deepen the access channel into Hartlepool to accommodate the larger vessels deployed in this sector.
“We are currently awaiting feedback from the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) following an application submitted by PD Ports in December 2018 for a dredging licence to widen and deepen the channel entrance at Hartlepool.
“The Port of Hartlepool is an important commercial operation, which is a significant contributor to the local economy and to the creation and retention of local jobs.”
The length of the approach channel is proposed to be extended by around 300 metres.
A 150m long underwater retaining wall would also be built to prevent undermining of the Middleton Breakwater following the dredging.
Council Senior Planning Officer Laura Chambers stated: “It is considered that this proposal will support the needs of the offshore wind industry, something that will be vital to contributing towards renewable energy generation and will support the local economy and industry at the Port.”