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Minutes of a meeting of Directors held on Thursday 11th March 2021

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


Alasdair Swan (Chair); Steven Anderson; John Band; Paddy Crerar; Eric Robertson

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



Quentin Dimmer 

Guests: Dave Dunbar; Tania King; Frank Kirwan


Apologies: Alastair Cook


1 Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 11th February  2021 were approved.

Matters completed –

  1. The parts for the notice board have now been ordered.
  2. Planning application for the safety matters has been submitted.
  3. Advertising consent for the safety signs has been submitted.
  4. RH has determined where the safety rails will be positioned along the South Pier. The rail will also protect the area outside the DFA cold store.
  5. Licences have been issued to the traders as agreed.
  6. Blue Wild has been informed that there is will be no licence to put a storage facility on Harbour Trust land this year, or an offer of a shared use store. The capacity in Dunbar to house large boats is limited, but support is being given to Blue Wild to explore all possibilities outside the Harbour Trust area, as Day Trips out of the harbour will be an attractive draw to Dunbar.
  7. The application for a grant of £64,000 to Marine Scotland was successful and will provide the fishermen with the rope rails, improved moorings in Cromwell Harbour, and replacement rams for the Harbour Bridge. The safe working of the bridge is critical to the smooth running of the harbour.
  8. A final budget for 2021/22 has been circulated to the Board.
  9. SA has provided names for possible contractors for the Harbour toilet project and they have been approached to see whether they are interested.
  10. Denholm Horsburgh has been welcomed back to work.

Matters still in progress –

  1. Wipers on CCTV cameras – An engineer has tightened up some mountings for a couple of antennae and he believes an upgrade to the firmware within the cameras will be needed to get the wipers to work. The equipment  manufacturers will be contacted directly. This item is really only useful for the camera looking at the Battery. It is the most exposed and the only one that suffers from salt deposits on the glass cover. Most of the time it is not a problem.
  2. Even more important is the upgrading of the BT Broadband service which will enable others to use the system and allow the Trust to introduce a webcam. There has been initial difficulty in getting Openreach to recognise  the existence of McArthur’s Store.
  3. Neither the application for advertising consent, nor the planning permission have been registered. The Planning Department of the Council has asked for colour numbers of the signs (for which they have photographs), scaled drawings of 600mm circles and similar matters which we will now seek out for them. The Trust has 28 days to respond and will do so within this time.
  4. Advertising consent for the Belhaven Lobsters – (the responsibility of the owners)
  5. The lighthouse for donations – Micky McLouhglin will be approached to see if this is something he can deliver.


2. Harbour Governance

A. Appointment process for new Directors

There has been one formal application to join the Harbour Trust Board. The Appointing Body agreed remotely (because of the pandemic restrictions) that David Dunbar should be appointed as a trustee to Dunbar Harbour Trust with effect from 1st April 2021. David Dunbar will also be appointed as a Director of Dunbar Harbour Trust Ltd from that date.

B. Retiral of Directors

John Band has completed twelve years of service for Dunbar Harbour Trust, and under our governing statute he is now required to stand down from office. He was one of the very first trustees in 2004 and served for seven years, at which time he took a break. From 2016 John has completed a further five years as a Director. John’s commitment to the harbour predates 2004, for he was deeply involved in the establishment of the Trust and the transfer of the harbour from East Lothian Council. For many years John led Dunbar’s Sailing Club, and he and his late wife Thelma will be most fondly remembered for the creation of the Sparkling Dunbar Harbour Festival ten years ago.

Robin Hamilton joined the Harbour Trust in 2009 and, sadly, he also is required to stand down from office after twelve years of service. As the Trust’s engineering expert, he has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to secure Dunbar Harbour’s sea walls and has then supervised the work that has been carried out. In addition, he has nursed the harbour bridge and organised the breakwater and harbourside repairs. Like John,  Robin has been a constant helper at all of the harbour’s events. 

Steven Anderson has decided to stand down as a Director after nearly eleven years of service. Steven joined the Trust in August 2010 and has left his mark in the most tangible of ways. Steven led the Dunbar Battery project, converting a crumbling monument into a vibrant centre for the performing arts and a go-to place for tourists. The famous Wilson propellor has been given a new lease of life with the new environment that Steven designed for it, and over the last year Steven has given the harbour five new stores under the Maggie. Al  three Directors will be badly missed. 

A proposal has been put forward that an appropriate roll of honour should be introduced into McArthur’s Store to record the names of Directors who have completed the maximum term of twelve years.

C. Associate Directors

It was resolved that there should be a new office of Associate Director. This is designed for directors who have completed their full twelve years of office but who still have an active role to play in the life of the harbour.

An Associate Director is not a Director of Dunbar Harbour Trust Ltd, nor a trustee of Dunbar Harbour Trust, and has no voting rights or statutory duties. When, and if, the Associate Director attends a Board Meeting, it will be in the capacity of a guest. 

It is envisaged that an  Associate Directorship will continue for as long as the individual is willing to help with the work of the harbour, and for as long as the Directors of Dunbar Harbour Trust Ltd believe that such help is of value. The role of Associate Director may be terminated at any time by the individual or the company, and termination will be noted in the company’s minutes.

It was resolved that John Band and Robin Hamilton should be appointed Associate Directors from 1st April 2021 so that they can complete the projects that they are currently engaged on.

3. Port Marine Safety Code

Incident Log Review

There were no major or minor incidents  reported in February. The Harbourmaster asked it to be noted that there had been a fuel leak in the month which will be recorded in the log before the next meeting

Risk Assessment Review

The following risks were assessed –

  1. Washed off sea walls in high seas
  2. Run down by vessel while diving or swimming
  3. Electric shock
  4. Fuel spillage

Risk 1 has been greatly mitigated with the introduction of the North Wall gate. This control will only be effective if it is consistently applied i.e. if the gate is always kept closed during bad weather.

Risk 2 has consistently been regarded as the greatest risk in the harbour.

Risk 4 has been  regular problem recently with one particular vessel, but it is believed that the problem has now been fixed. However, the recent fuel leak incident needs to be investigated and the use of automatic bilge pumps in the harbour was raised as a possible issue. The question was also asked as to whether the CCTV cameras could identify the vessel at fault in the future

Seal platform

The proposal for a Seal platform has been circulated. Implementation of this exciting idea will be dependent on completion and acceptance (by the Trust) of a written risk assessment.

Wearing of life jackets

The Harbourmaster provided some comfort in assuring the Board that most fishermen now do wear their lifejackets when out at sea. There are designs (used by paddle boarders, for example) which do not get in the way of working, which has been a problem in the past for the inshore fishermen. Seven men lost their lives unnecessarily in UK waters last year because they were working without life jackets. The MCA now proposes to use aircraft to identify those who are not complying with the law, and at the same time will be monitoring littering at sea. It was agreed that the harbour notice board will be used to remind our fishing crews of the legal responsibility they have to protect their own lives at sea,

4 Finance Report

A. February management accounts:

The February report had been circulated prior to the meeting.

  1. There was a Deficit of £1,456 in the month of February
  2. A summary of the year-to date deficit of £12,299 can be captured in the following:
    1. There was a 50% discount on all mooring income because of the pandemic.
    2. Landings are down 32% year-on-year
    3. Fuel sales are down 42% year-on-year
    4. There has been heavy usage of skip hire in an attempt to keep the harbour clean
  3. The cost of container hire of £380 was for the removal of the container that housed the fork lift truck (£120) plus £260 for two locks that needed to be cut off because the DFA had lost the keys. This cost will be recovered next month from the DFA. 
  4. The software expense is the annual cost of the fuel management system.
  5. There is one outstanding grant for the Maggie project for £15,562
  6. The aged debtors report shows that there is one customer who still has not paid his old debt. Action is being taken.
  7. A separate cash flow statement has been sent out under separate cover to show the capital expenditure incurred during the year.
  8. The aged debtors report contains a few of the favourite culprits, but £19,213 of the total debt of £22,789 is not yet due for payment.

B. 2021/22 Budget:

The budget has been circulated and has now been finalised.

The size of the capital budget is not large at £25,000, but it was explained that this can be used to attract matched funding for projects such as the harbour toilets.

RH pointed out how fortunate we had been to secure so much 100% funding from Marine Scotland to maintain our basic infrastructure.

C. Future revenue streams

Over the last decade our traditional revenue streams have steadily grown. With some of the present economic threats, the need for new streams of income may become necessary.

It was agreed that the income trends will be carefully considered at future monthly meetings.

A special meeting will be established at the end of 2021 if it is considered that new income streams are necessary to safeguard the well-being of the harbour.

5. Harbour Management Committee

A drone film of the north wall is available and physical inspection will be carried out for underpinning at end March or April depending on swell.

The skip has been removed from McArthur’s stores as it was intimated it was being abused. There were no objections from the DHMC.

Belhaven Lobsters have approached East Lothian Planning Department to check what, if any, advertising consent is needed.

6. Advertising policy

The latest version of the policy has been circulated and was approved.

7. Events

A. Harbour Festival (Sparkling Dunbar)

It is proposed that we hold SDHF on 7th August 2021. Three options are available to consider, depending on restrictions which apply at the time:

  1. Hold the event with full public participation if public gatherings are permitted and subject to permission from ELC to hold the event (this will only be received after the Scottish Government gives the go ahead for large gatherings). 
  2. Hold the event with restricted numbers. This will require a higher-level of administration, e.g., requirements of ELC, SAG risk assessment, promotional limitations, number of volunteer stewards required. There is also the unknown level of desire to participate and ability to sell/ perform if restrictions apply (craft/ food traders, musicians, entertainment providers and bar). Early engagement to obtain participation levels in principle and any issues will be carried out.
  3. Postpone the event should restrictions apply.

The Board were asked to consider and advise of their views, and to commit the support required should the event proceed. This includes all Director’s volunteering on the day of the event to assist put-up, management of the event and take-down, from 7am-10pm approx.

The conclusions were:

  1. Some event should take place, if it is lawful to do so.
  2. In 2021, a limited mini “Bands at the Battery” type of event is the most deliverable in terms of policing during any pandemic restrictions.
  3. The 10 year anniversary will be celebrated in 2022

B. Tides and Times

This event will now take place at the end May/ beg. June 2022. 

  1. An offer has been made by a Dunbar resident and professional event manager to seek funding for this event, with the view that any funding application is likely to be more successful if the event is branded. This would involve a brand design and promotional materials. The individual has offered to manage funding applications and pay any upfront costs for this work.
  2. There is an opportunity to manage this event on a shared basis, with the event manager taking responsibility for matters such as food & drink provision, musicians and other. There is a possibility that the event would become a ticketed and chargeable event if this proposal is agreed. 

In principle, the above was agreed. Full details will be provided at the next meeting

8 Harbour Improvement plan

A. Toilets

Letters have been sent to various contractors to determine whether they are interested in quoting for the job.

B. Storage


  1. McArthurs Store: 
    1. Some of the creels causing obstructing the walkway have been moved back.
    2. The compound area is improved with some debris still to be removed.
  2. South Quay: Storage of potato boxes is tidier, but no reduction in numbers.
  3. Victoria Harbour: Bin base removed.

Outstanding Issues: 

  1. North Wall corner: damaged creels stored in corner.
  2. Victoria Harbour: Broken bench, repair to water outlet box (hinges), painting of fences (will be done when ELC team return to work) and improvements to steps & stairs (now included in 3-yr Improvement Plan).
  3. McArthurs Store: Broken light at front of building

The main issues:

  1. Castle Area – Storage Project Item (previous location of forklift container): There is a lot of creels and general debris in this area. It was previously agreed this area would be kept clear, except for tidily stacked creels in winter months.
  2. Castle Vaults – Storage Project Item: Items are growing in number. It was previously agreed this area would be kept clear.
  3. South Quay – Storage Project Item: Number of potato boxes. It was previously agreed the potato box storage would be reduced to one tier, reducing the number, and improving the visual context of the area.
  4. McArthurs Store. The storage of creels remains an issue at the rear and to the East side. The creels are reducing the walkway to approx. 12” on the route causing potential endangerment.
  5. Misuse of skip at McArthurs Store (now removed)

These matters were raised with the DHMC (by email). Kevin Keillor commented, advising it is a working harbour and these areas will be clear in the summer months, but storage is required in winter months for creels and equipment which require repair and mending.

JB and YW were thanked for their walk round and the excellent photographic record of the issues. 

It was agreed that :

  1. The number of potato boxes must not increase. Any unauthorised boxes brought on site will be removed.
  2. Work will continue to reduce the number of potato boxes on site.
  3. While noting the requirement of extensive storage during the winter, untidy storge will not be tolerated and the photographs show too many instances of this.
  4. Walkways and approaches to the vaults must be kept clear at all times.
  5. The westerly bunker on the south pier will be offered as a chargeable storage facility to Blue Wild.
  6. The issues mentioned above will be addressed by the harbourmaster on his return to work,

C. Fishermen’s Monument

The proposal put forward by the Dunbar Shore & Harbour Neighbourhood Group was presented to the meeting.

The next steps for the DSHNG will be to take the proposal to the fishermen and to the residents who live round Cromwell Harbour.

Planning permission will be obtained

The boat currently owned by one James Wood will need to be moved by the summer to allow the work to progress.

There was a question as to who managed the Common Good land to the south of the Harbour Trust’s property. The Dunbar Fishermen had asked East Lothian Council if the DFA could manage this land. It has increasingly become a scrap yard which is neither good for the local residents or visitors to the Fishermen’s Monument and Cromwell Harbour. The matter will be taken up first with the DFA and then with ELC. There was a suggestion that it would be better if the Harbour Trust owned the land with enshrined rights for the fishermen and the tenants, but his was noted and no decision was taken on the subject until the above discussions had taken place.

9  Any other competent business

Community Windpower financial support for Communities

It has been suggested that an approach could be made to secure Community Windpower funding for harbour improvements. For smaller projects, windpower funding is available through Dunbar Community Council and BeGreen.

The project to revisit the creation of a breakwater outside the harbour has been raised as a subject. It has been pointed out that rocks are being removed from the seabed as part of the windfarm projects which could be used as a breakwater in theory.

There was a discussion on the subject including a wide variety of views. It was agreed in the first instance that an approach will be made to the windfarm companies to see if there is any substance in the suggestion.

Thereafter, depending on the result of these initial enquiries, a Board Committee might be set up with a mandate to identify the best solution, using wherever possible material provided by professionals over the last decade.


JB pointed out that insufficient attention had been paid in the past to the trouble caused by over-topping.  This needs to be addressed at the same time as the breakwater, if the latter is to be of full benefit.

Without arriving at any conclusion, it was noted that there are other alternatives to building the breakwater in the position recommended in 2014. The latter was partly driven by the need to have berthing points for the offshore maintenance boats.


Regulations for flying drones

These are now posted on the website under “Visitors”


The garbled technical problems have now been sorted out.

Gazebo anchor points


The threaded nuts are now inaccessible and need to be replaced in brass

Embrasure slabs

Some slabs have already been laid and a quote is now awaited from a hard landscaper.


Date of next meeting – Thursday 8th April  2021

The meeting of the directors of Dunbar Harbour Trust Ltd will be preceded by the 17thAnnual General Meeting of Dunbar Harbour Trust.