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Dunbar Harbour Trust

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting – “The Users’ Meeting” – held at the Bleachingfield Centre on Thursday 5thDecember 2019

23 Attendees, including commercial users, leisure users, residents and members of the community.

Report by the Chairman, Alasdair Swan

In 2014, the Harbour Trust published its first three year Harbour Improvement Plan and reported on progress against this plan every year between 2015 and 2017. We are now two thirds of the way through our second three year plan and tonight provides us, first with an opportunity to review where we have got to, and then to discuss with you what we are currently working on and where we plan to go from here.

The Improvement Plan includes everything that we would like to see. Some of these improvements will prove to be too expensive to deliver, some will be too difficult to deliver, but our track record to date, thanks to some generous grants we have been able to secure, has been very successful. It is worthy of note that there is no certainty, given the current politics at UK level and Scotland level, that the Harbour Trust will have access to the same level of funding over the next few years. Much of the funding support we have received has been European money.

Every year we work hard to keep our sea defences secure. This year has been no different and Robin Hamilton needs to be thanked for the tireless work he does each year surveying the sea walls and encouraging Marine Scotland to release the funds needed to remedy the undermining of the walls. He will talk to you about what we have done to the North Wall and Broadhaven Breakwater this year. Particular thanks also go to Kevin Thomson and his team at AG Thomson for their dedication to the care of our harbour.

Robin is involved also in the Harbour bridge project with our Harbourmaster Quentin Dimmer and he will update you on where we are with the bridge refurbishment programme. The reliability of the bridge is critical to our commercial users and also to all the residents and visitors, not to mention the divers and the anglers, who enjoy the access to the north side of the harbour.

Steven Anderson has worked over the last year to develop the far end of Victoria Harbour to increase the amount of storage at the harbour where storage is in short supply. This whole area under the Maggie has been greatly improved over recent years by the Harbour Trust and it is hoped that work will start here this month to be finished in the first quarter of 2020. The Harbour Trust expresses its gratitude to the FLAG Committee for funding much of this project.

The Trust has also received FLAG funding for its plans to improve the security at the harbour by providing comprehensive CCTV coverage over the whole area. Paul Ingram has secured this funding and has worked through the planning stage and will talk to you shortly on how the rest of this project will unfold.

We have received planning permission but have not secured funding for the provision of new toilets in the harbour. It is a constant plea from users at the harbour and visitors to the harbour that the Harbour Trust should provide toilet facilities but it has never proved possible to find a good solution that would satisfy the residents. Eric Robertson will lead a discussion on this subject shortly to explain where we are in the process.

Yvonne Wemyss and the harbourmaster have led many initiatives to improve the environment around the harbour and to make all harbour users more aware of what can be done to avoid pollution in our waters. She will tell you about these improvements. At the same time it is necessary to acknowledge the work done by Yvonne, Steven Anderson, Paul Ingram, and John Band supported by our other trustees to put on a programme of entertainment at Dunbar Battery. The location has a growing reputation and we witnessed a wonderful Harbour Festival this year with record crowds.

Thanks to the sterling work of Kenny Maule the Harbour Trust communicates widely each month on the activities around Dunbar Harbour. Tonight provides you with an opportunity to let the Trust know if there are any subjects you would like to see covered more often, and please feel free at any time to offer material for future newsletters to Kenny which you feel might be of interest to other harbour users. Anyone wishing to subscribe to the e-Newsletter can request this from: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In the final year of our three year plan we will be looking to complete some of the work that we have already started in 2019. We will once again be looking for ways in which to strengthen our sea defences and there are other projects we have undertaken to look at which include –

  1. Drainage to eliminate South Pier pooling
  2. Dredging the Cromwell Harbour
  3. Maintenance Bay
  4. Roadway markings
  5. Pontoons
  6. North Wall steps
  7. Castle railings

The reason for tonight’s meeting is to discuss significant matters of interest to the stakeholders of Dunbar Harbour. I will invite my fellow directors to say a few words on the projects that I have mentioned, after which it will be an open forum for anyone to raise significant matters of interest, including the plans for the coming year.

Report by Robin Hamilton on the Sea Defences and Bridge repairs

The Harbour Trust has been able to invest over £450,000 into our infrastructure in recent years and continues to undertake regular surveys. With no certainty that we will be able to attract the necessary funding we are hoping to continue this work over the coming winter.

The Harbour Bridge needs to be maintained if the harbour and Dunbar Battery are to continue to operate smoothly. Consultants have advised the Harbour Trust on what needs to be done and the Trust is now working through these expert recommendations.

Report by Paul Ingram on improved harbour security

The Harbour Trust has been supported by the European and Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) via the Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) to introduce improved security over our fishing fleet and other parts of the harbour. The objective is to better secure the assets of the Trust’s harbour users.

The planning application is now under way and work will start once the 60 day period has lapsed and planning approval has been obtained.

It is the intention to enable harbour users to gain remote access to the film so that they can keep an eye on their boats from the comfort of their own homes.

There were questions from the floor about the coverage of the CCTV cameras and Paul Ingram was able to assure the meeting that no cameras would be able to see into local houses. Residents will be invited to check this for themselves if they are in any doubt and Paul confirmed that these cameras will be in a fixed position and will not rotate.


There was a further discussion on the Privacy Policy and it was agreed that the Board of directors would review this policy in January to ensure that it is still fit for purpose.


It was also suggested from the floor that appropriate and clear signage should be put in place.


Report from Eric Robertson on the demand for and options for toilets at the harbour

Planning permission has been given for the introduction of toilets along the South Pier. As yet the Harbour Trust has no final costings and no funding for this project, so this meeting provides the Harbour Trust to obtain further views on this project.

It was noted that a few residents had written in to object to the siting of the proposed toilets. Questions were asked from the floor as to whether alternative locations had been explored and Eric Robertson was able to confirm that they had been. Drainage is a major problem and therefore a major expense at the other possible locations.

The introduction of a macerator was suggested as an alternative but the risks of malfunction of a macerator, the costs of pumping, and the increased chance of a poorly performing toilet all make this an unattractive option. Eric Robertson pointed out that these alternative sites would be much more intrusive than the one selected.

There was a question as to whether the Trust owned the land at the proposed toilet site and the meeting was assured that the land is within the Trust property.


Those attending the meeting encouraged the Trust to get on with the project. Eric Robertson agreed to meet further with the objectors to advise then of the meeting’s decision. He also advised that the toilets needed to be suitably located to Dunbar Battery to accommodate the growing number of visitors and events. The progress of this project can be followed in the Harbour Trust’s minutes over the coming months. These are available on the website or from the Harbour Office in hard copy on a Thursday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.


 Report on the environmental improvements by Yvonne Wemyss

Quentin Dimmer, our Harbourmaster is passionate about the environment and extremely knowledgeable! It is the Directors role to support and provide assistance wherever possible to help him achieve his goals.

DHT is committed to maintaining the harbours in a clean & safe condition for all users.

Environmental Objectives; drive to improve the environment incl:

-       Daily matters which the harbourmaster will consider i.e. water pollution, waste management and other issues

-       Julia Barton, Littoral Art Project, held a successful environmental project in June involving local schools making litter cubes from plastic bottles, fishing line and cotton buds

-       Keep Our Harbour Tidy; Open day 2019, supported by Viridor & Marine Scotland; upcycled creels for kids to paint, educational video shown and other activities – hugely successful!

-       New waste equipment installed/ replaced; 2 cig butt bins @McArthurs Store & Tasty Toastie, 2 dog waste bins @ Cromwell & Victoria Harbour

Dunbar Harbour Management Committee will consider regular items using British Marine Guidance to achieve higher environmental standards, this would include items such as policy, waste management, pollution control and energy efficiency.

Major issues for the harbour are plastic waste and dog waste. 

Plastic – Did you know that a dead sperm whale was found on Luskentyre beach, Harris with approx. 100kg of marine debris in its stomach, including sections of net, rope, plastic cups, plastic bags, gloves, packing straps and tubing.

Big fish, little fish, they are all eating the debris we discard! Sustainability of our fishing environment is critical to our local industry, so we should do all we can to reduce waste in our local waters.

Dog mess is a real concern resulting in horrendous damage to the eyes. It is so easily transferred from one location to another. We have many young children and elderly visiting the harbour who are particularly susceptible to such infections. Quentin is working with the Community Dog Warden on this issue, but can we ask you to encourage people to pick up their dog’s mess. 

We welcome the support of the local community to assist in our endeavors and any ideas or suggestions you might have to help us improve the environment at the harbour.

Comments from the floor - 

The seat by the Propellor has been vandalised and requires attention.


The new dog waste bin is not clearly visible and it was suggested that this should be moved.

It was noted from the floor that members of the public can and should report offenders who do not pick up their dog waste by contacting ELC direct.

The meeting was closed at 8 p.m.