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Harbours (Speed Limits)

Volume 229: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what proposals he has received from Poole harbour commissioners to make byelaws relating to speed limits of vessels; and what was the outcome;(2) if he will list those harbours on the English south coast that do not have speed restrictions in place;(3) what consultations his Department has had on the environmental implications of vessel speed in the Poole harbour site of special scientific interest.

Poole harbour commissioners' proposed amendments to the harbour byelaws, for confirmation by the Secretary of State, to allow a speed limit of 10 knots to be imposed on power driven vessels, to enable water ski-ing and aquaplaning to be restricted to specified zones, and to exclude boardsailing from the main navigation channel. The last of these did not prove to be contentious and that amendment has been confirmed. The proposed speed and zoning restrictions, however, attracted a large number of objections. The commissioners have now produced a considered response to these, upon which the objectors have been given an opportunity to comment. The Secretary of State will then proceed to a decision as soon and possible. The local Act empowering the commissioners to make byelaws does not provide for any public inquiry into objections to proposed amendments and written representations have therefore been relied on.The Department does not have a readily available record of speed limit byelaws by all harbour authorities. The commissioners' response refers to 25 harbour authorities on the south coast which have such limits. Poole already has one of 6 knots for the little channel, Poole quay channel and Holes bay. The commissioners have not proposed the amendments to their byelaws primarily on environmental grounds, but they have drawn attention to such considerations in their report.