Minutes of a meeting of Directors held on Thursday 13th August 2020


Because of the coronavirus, this meeting was held remotely via Zoom.



Alasdair Swan (Chair); Steven Anderson; John Band; 

Paul Ingram; Kenny Maule; Robin Hamilton;;  Yvonne Wemyss; John Williams



Quentin Dimmer 

Apologies: Alastair Cook; Paddy Crerar; Eric Robertson



1 Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 9th July 2020 were approved.

Matters completed –

  • 3T and 5 mph signs are being designed by John Band and Alasdair Swan
  • Sleeping policemen have been ordered
  • Statutory accounts have been lodged with OSCR
  • External PMSC audit has been undertaken remotely

Matters carried forward until the crisis eases –

  • Cold Store drainage – being coordinated with Maggie project
  • Painting of railings and bollards – awaiting response from ELC
  • “Beware Falling Rocks” notice
  • Kedge anchor advice

3 Port Marine Safety Code

Incident Log Review

There were no major or minor incidents to report in July. 

However, more recently, there have been incidents involving sewage being emptied into the Broadhaven. Scottish Water claim that the problem has been identified and solved, but the situation will continue to be monitored.

Risk Assessment Review

The following risks were assessed –

  1. Adverse swell – Damage to persons, property or sinking
  2. Crew error - Collision through unplanned movement
  3. Unplanned movement of berthed vessel – collision and sinking

The assessments were approved, and minor amendments were agreed. It was noted that these risks are particularly relevant as they relate to actual incidents that have occurred in the past.

External audit update

Ron Bailey ‘s Designated Person report was considered. The Dunbar Harbour Trust has been certified as being in compliance with the Port Marine Safety Code. The major areas for improvements relate to training, Hydrography, Enforcement (Crime Policy) and one particular new risk assessment to demonstrate that the provision of Local Port Services is not required.

  1. A further statement of compliance be sent in the first quarter of 2021 when the MCA have sent out their request.
  2. Wherever possible, use a Notice to Mariners or a Harbourmaster’s Direction in preference to considering any change to bye-laws. Enforcement of bye-laws is extremely difficult in Scotland. In England and Wales, a Statutory Body can engage a Solicitor and prosecute, however in Scotland all prosecutions must go through the Procurator Fiscal who must decide whether a prosecution is in the Public Interest. This has been a concern to the BPA’s Scottish Ports Group for many years and despite extensive discussions with Civil Servants and Police Scotland no solution has been found. 
  3. Training programme needs to be reviewed and documented. The training policy only mentions staff. MCA are particularly keen that Board members receive PMSC training. Section 7 of the SMS  could be amended to add Board members.  Board members, on a rotational basis could seek training, certainly internal auditors in the first instance. The British Ports Association are running virtual training courses on 26th August and 3rd September 2020.
  4. The Crime Policy is added to the SMS at the next review.
  5. The SMS does not appear to have a section covering Hydrography, and it is recommended that one is included at the next review. The Internal Audit of April 2020 adopted the recommendation that the harbour bottom should be formally recorded with photographs. It was also agreed that a record of the topography of Victoria Harbour would be useful using a laser level and depth stick in predefined places in the harbour – outstanding in April 2020. 
  6. Whilst it is obvious that a small harbour such as Dunbar does not require to operate a Local Port Services regime, MCA like to see that the outcome has been reached by formal risk assessment.


4 Finance

July Report

  1. The deficit of £2,535 in the month of July reflects the annual bill for gardening services of £1,000 and the cost of further skip hire. The cost of cleaning up around the harbour is escalating and, where we had spent nothing on skip hire during the same months in 2019, we have already spent £2,483 in the first four months of this year.
  2. Grants received during the month included the Partnership grant from East Lothian Council and the Sea-changers grant. The latter (£1,096.30) will be released to match up with the related expenditure when it is incurred.  The July accounts include the relevant part of the Partnership grant and the Covid grant. 
  3. Landings were 63% of their 19/20 level. This reflects the drop in the price for shellfish which has never recovered since the start of the pandemic.
  4. Sales of marine diesel were 19% down on last year in value, but this is a reflection of the falling oil price. The volume of marine diesel sold (which determines the Trust’s revenue was 7.5% up in the month, year-on-year).
  5. Services
  6. Visitors fees and launching fees  were both up in the month of July, compared with July 2019.
  7. Equipment rental reflects the cost of crane hire, recovered from the users of the service.
  8. There are no major credit control issues.
  9. Cash resources are beginning to be depleted with the demands of the major projects. £20,975 has been capitalized for the early work on the Maggie storesand £5,700 has been capitalized for the new Leading Lights. While there is an immediate negative cash flow effect both the Maggie Stores Project and the CCTV project will be partially financed by a FLAG grant.


Terms and conditions 2021

A draft document has been tabled and comments or suggested additions were sought before it is placed before the DHMC for its consideration. The terms need to be finalized on or before the November Board Meeting.

Application Form 2021

A draft document has been tabled and comments or suggested additions were sought. The form needs to be finalized on or before the November Board Meeting.

The Harbourmaster suggested an additional requirement asking for the qualifications or experience of new applicant, so that we can offer advice to inexperienced skippers before they go to sea. This will be incorporated into the next draft.

Price tariff 2021

Consideration will be given to the changes to next year’s tariff, particularly in regard to commercial fees for Stand-up Paddle Board companies and launching fees.

The rate for winter hardstanding will also be reviewed.

Public entertainment licence

It was agreed that any application will be deferred until the restrictions are lifted to allow public events to take place. 

5 Dunbar Harbour Management Committee

An outdoor meeting was held on Dunbar Battery, respecting social distancing.


It was noted that the Harbourmaster will draw up a list of authorised users. No new user will be issued with a key until he has received proper instruction on how to operate the bridge properly. Bridge operating instructions will be laminated and placed inside the box beside the bridge.


Trailers have been turning dangerously close to the water’s edge on the far side of the harbour bridge. This is another reason to keep the hardstanding on the south side of the bridge as clear as possible, but owners will also be encouraged to detach their trailers before turning them.

McArthur’s Store

The Harbour Trust reports formally to Historic environment Scotland on any maintenance and repair items it has undertaken or plans to undertake to McArthur’s Store. The Trust only requires prior permission from HeS for alterations to the building, not for maintenance and repairs.

Safety rails along the South Pier

Authority was given for a £1,700 trial of galvanised steel tubular rails (15m) at the far end of Victoria Harbour. This is intended to provide protection for the forklift truck, the safety of visitors, while also acting as a rope rail for the fishermen.

Litter bin:

ELC has refused to empty the Harbour’s main bin. A car tyre had been placed in the bin. The Harbourmaster will remove this, and he also pointed  out that paint tins are clogging up the bin, probably thrown overboard from ships anchored off Dunbar.

Environmental checklist:

We will keep an accurate record of spillages.


Raw sewage has been filmed coming into the Broadhaven. Both SEPA and Scottish Water have been alerted. The latter say that they have solved the problem, but doubt was cast as to whether this is the case. The matter will continue to be monitored.


The service continues to be sporadic, and the fault needs to be reported.

Planning restrictions:

As a result of a complaint, East Lothian Council has written to say that planning permission is required for the siting and operation of any temporary structure or trailer within the conservation area. This could bring the management of the harbour to a halt, adversely affecting the fishermen, Sailing club and existing retailers, so a letter asking for clarification has been sent to East Lothian Council and the Councillors. No response has been received from anyone, probably because of annual leave. It is anticipated that a sensible arrangement will be agreed allowing for potato boxes, creels, yachts on cradles, mobile retail units, and boat trailers to be managed without troubling the Planning department, and avoiding harbour users having to apply for a succession of planning permissions every time a structure or trailer is moved.

6 Projects


The doors are now on. Getting Scottish Power to connect the electricity supply will be the key factor to determine when the stores will become operational.

Letters will be sent to those on the waiting list to see whether they still want to rent the stores.

The grant application(s) will be progressed.

AG Thomson will complete the work when the level access is created for the stores. The pedestrian walkway will be restored with appropriate safety fencing. 

The wall will be rebuilt to provide wider access outside the existing stores. Any development for the grassy area has planning permission for accessible access to come in from the bottom corner. This area will be clearer once the container is de-hired.

Harbour Bridge

The Bridge sub-committee has met.

The pros and cons of fitting a gate in front of the harbour bridge will be presented to the next meeting.

It was agreed that the metal plates at each end of the bridge will be renewed.


The electrical work will be started next Wednesday.

Robert Davies has agreed to allow the work to go through his store, but he will be informed that the access will be needed next Wednesday.

The pole bases are in place, and the poles are in Dunbar.

The cameras will be available at the end of the month.

The project is due to be completed by the end of September.

7 Harbour Improvement Plan

Storage at the harbour

The report showing who owns how many storage units (potato boxes and pallets) and why these are needed is still outstanding and is the immediate priority.

Once this information is available a site visit will be convened to review possible options moving forward.

The Harbourmaster is keen to keep the fishermen involved, so that a workable solution is arrived at.


Trunking on the north side of the bridge

The track has been laid. It will be connected when the CCTV pole connection is made beside Dunbar Battery.

Plan for harbour retailers

The sub-group has held its first meeting. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 25thAugust.

It was agreed that the immediate priority is to develop a plan for the existing retailers    (and any new pitches that might be sold) for 2021.

The Trust will engage with local residents so that they can have input into this plan.

Once the short-term plan has been signed off, the sub-group will continue to develop a longer-term strategy for economic development. The objective is to develop a plan that adds to the service that is provided to existing users, and the plan should not be a threat to them. The large grants provided to maintain the sea defences are available to the Harbour Trust because we are such a thriving fishing harbour.

Painting of store doors

It was agreed that the doors will be painted in the standard dark blue colour. The Harbourmaster will organise this, and Eddie Johnstone should be contacted in the hope that his doors will be painted at the same time.

Notice Boards

John Band shared his plans/options for the notice boards, and it was agreed to go for the full option, allowing for some advertising and key harbour information.

It was recommended that a magnetic board be used, as these are much easier to manage.

The draft advertising policy will be shared with the Board for consideration at the next meeting.


8. Any other competent business


Caledonian TV

Permission has been granted for drone filming to take place in early September, provided the TV company adheres to the legal rules.

Chef Shack

The Chef Shack is advertising that produce can be collected from the harbour, but the collection point is off the Harbour Trust land.

Retail proposal

A proposal for a fixed unit has been suggested by one customer. No action will be taken until the proposal is received and it will be built into the considerations for the 2021 retail plan. Planning permission will be required for any permanent unit, should the Harbour Trust choose to approve of such a proposal.

History Society

The History Society is organising an exhibition and a meeting with Pauline Smeed has been arranged to co-ordinate the plans for Tides &Times with this exhibition.


The egg painting has not taken place this year which has impacted on the number of gulls.

The seagulls steal the kittiwake chicks, so the increase in gulls has been compounded by the negative effect on the kittiwakes.

Unfortunately, visitors continue to feed the seagulls despite the notices, despite the notices telling them not to.

Flagstones in Dunbar Battery

New flagstones are being procured.

Day launch boats

Inadequate space for the trailers  is creating a potential problem for the RNLI. This ties in with the need to get the yachts off the hardstanding in the summer, and the need to organise our retailers better.

Oil spill response plan

MCA has been involved and it has been agreed that any fuel incident will be reported to the Aberdeen Coastguard.

SEPA is making its presence felt.

The boat that has been causing much of the problem has returned after an expensive repair. Damage to a fuel line has been rectified and a leaking hull has been sorted, so it is expected that this problem will now disappear.


9  Date of next meeting – Thursday 10th September  6.45 p.m.