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Minutes of a meeting of Directors held on Thursday 13th January 2022 

at McArthur’s Store


Directors: Alasdair Swan (Chair); Dave Dunbar; Paul Ingram; Tania King; Kenny Maule; Yvonne Wemyss; John Williams.


Associate Director: John Band; Robin Hamilton.


Apologies: Alastair Cook; David Nairn; Eric Robertson.


1 Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 11th November were ratified and approved.

Matters completed:

  1. 2022 tariff is on the website under a new heading “Harbour”.
  2. 2022 terms and conditions are on the website under a new heading “Harbour”.
  3. The Mooring application form can be found under “Harbour”
  4. McArthur’s Store bollard has been repaired by PI
  5. The VAT refund has been received.
  6. Scottish Water has issued a case reference.
  7. CAF has registered the charity with HMRC
  8. Good progress had been made with issuing 2022 Mooring invoices
  9. 2015 hydrographic survey has been circulated – see Dropbox/PMSC
  10. A letter was sent to the owner of Heron. The boat has not been removed as planned and the matter will now be referred to the DHMC to develop an action plan.
  11. AS took part in the windfarm consultation. Nothing of relevance to report back.
  12. The Users’ Meeting was held as planned in the Harbour Chapel.
  13. The corridor storage message has been communicated to the tenants.
  14. Speed bump review has shown this to be the regulation size. Its effectiveness will be kept under review.

Matters carried forward:

  1. South Pier roadworks
  2. Sea Cadet risers
  3. Additional collection boxes

2 Governance and legal

Recruitment of Harbourmaster

The interview process has now been completed and the Board approved the proposal to offer the preferred candidate the job of harbourmaster. The date of the appointment will depend on the notice period that needs to be given to the current employer of the preferred candidate.

Recruitment of new Directors

While continuing with the legally required annual advertisements, we will also use social media to see if we can identify some good candidates through a more informal route.

A draft note will be circulated to board members before it is published.

The need to get the right chemistry in the team was considered to be important, so that the role is enjoyable and not one of constant conflict.

Re-appointment of existing Directors

The following directors came up for re-appointment this April –

  1. Alasdair Swan
  2. Tania King
  3. David Nairn

The fourth Director is one of the currently vacant posts

Appointing Body

The current appointing body is –

  1. Alasdair Swan (who will be replaced by Paul Ingram this year)
  2. Sharon Saunders (East Lothian Council)
  3. Elaine O’Brien (Dunbar Community)

We will check before the next meeting that SS and EO’B are willing and able to help again this year

3. Port Marine Safety Code

Incident Log Review

There were no major incidents during the month. The death off the Winterfield cliffs was not on harbour property.

Risk Assessment Review

The following risks were assessed –

  1. Falls from climbing
  2. Trips on uneven surfaces
  3. Fall to water or on deck of vessel

The first of these has always caused the Directors greatest concern and the education of young children into the dangers of climbing and tombstoning remains a priority.

The harbour walkabout has identified various trip hazards which are being investigated.

2021 Safety Review


As part of its commitment to the Port Marine Safety Code Dunbar Harbour Trust formally reviews its safety record at the first Board Meeting after the end of the year. The aim of this review is to identify any trends that may guide the Trust to find new ways to improve the safety of the harbour.

The incident log for 2021 shows –

Ref No





Teenagers requiring rescue from water at Battery

  • There were 1 incident in the year (2020-3)
  • There were no RIDDOR reportable incidents ( 2020 – 0)

In addition to the above there were near misses reported in the following categories-

  1. Oil spillages which cause environmental damage to the harbour waters.
  2. Moorings breaking which risk damage to neighbouring yachts.
  3. Swimming in the harbour when boats are operating in the vicinity.
  4. Tombstoning – an activity that risks life and limb at the harbour entrance.

The greatest risks continue to centre round the behaviour of the young people of the town, mainly in the summer months. The number of incident reports does not reflect the occasions when children were tombstoning, jumping off the North Wall or swimming in a harbour used by commercial fishermen.

The risks that are most likely to cause serious damage to persons or property:

  1. Falls from climbing
  2. Run down by vessel entering harbour while diving or swimming
  3. Trips on uneven surfaces  

Looking at the maritime hazards only these were ranked:

  1. Operational planning error – grounding (especially when moving from Victoria Harbour into the Broadhaven)
  2. Unplanned movement of berthed vessel resulting in collision or sinking. 
  3. Unexpected tidal conditions, including swell – collision with quayside (especially in the harbour entrance)

Achievements during 2021 included:

  1. Completion of the rope rail to stop vehicles falling into Victoria Harbour. 
  2. New safety signs.
  3. Speed bumps to slow down traffic going over the bridge.
  4. Additional signage around Dunbar Battery to explain the dangers of the rocks beyond.
  5. A new life belt introduced at Dunbar Battery
  6. A review of three risks at every Board Meeting

2022 Safety plan

The set of measurable objectives with actions designed to mitigate identified risks were agreed as being –

  • Induction of a new harbourmaster into the requirements of the Port Marine Safety Code
  • Improvements to make the Victoria Harbour steps safer
  • Remedial work to safety fence at the mouth of the harbour entrance
  • Review of three risk assessments at every Board Meeting
  • Introduction of a formal Training Plan

Fire Risk Review

The fire alarm was tested today and found to be in good working order.

Harbour entrance railings

Kevin Thomson will be asked for his view as to what should be done with the railings at the harbour entrance.

If AGT is too busy the job could be referred to ITEC or ICI (Callum Duguid)

It was pointed out that regular review of the railings as part of the harbour walkabout could save the need for major repairs

4 Finance Report

December management accounts:

The December report had been circulated prior to the meeting.

  1. There was a deficit of £731 in the month of December
  2. There was a one-off cost of advertising in the East Lothian Courier for a new Harbourmaster.
  3. Software costs are the annual costs for running the fuel management system and the accounting package.
  4. The cost of utilities is beginning to be felt. The main electricity supply to McArthur’s Store is protected by a fixed price contract until August 2022. The gas supplier CNG has gone out of business and the new supplier has introduced a standing charge of 50p per day (£182 per annum) which we never paid before, and the unit rate has risen from 3.9733 to 7.5p per unit, an 89% increase in the cost of gas.
  5. Landings (received in December for catch landed in November) were 3% down on the previous year. Dues received in January may show an improvement as fuel sales were up 10% in volume (49% in value). The fuel price increases will be being felt in our fishing businesses. Fortunately, 2021 has been a good year for the value of the catch brought into Dunbar.
  6. HMRC had unilaterally deleted our claim for input tax last March, failed to inform us, and taken no action to follow the matter up. Various appeals were either ignored or misdirected. Fortunately, the matter was resolved in December and the arrears were received. An apology has now been received.
  7. Although the total debtors figure looks large this month, most of the debt is not due until 31 March 2022. The high figure reflects the fact that Avril Anderson is once again on top of the mooring charge invoicing.

Mooring applications:

Good progress is being made.

Invoices for annual skiff launches still need to be issued

Cost of utilities

With the rising prices of gas and electricity, consideration was given as to what might be done to mitigate the problem. The building will not be heated beyond what is needed, and there should be minimal requirement for gas over the summer months. The possibility of alternative sources of energy will be explored, but any alterations to McArthur’s Store will need t he prior approval of Historic environment Scotland.

Refunds policy

This policy remains unchanged. There will be no refunds for moorings that are not used (or are only partially used) during the year.

CAF donate

The platform has now been set up. The website needs to be amended, prior to specific appeals being introduced.

5. Harbour Management Committee

Harbour walkabout actions

  1. New North Wall bench material will be ordered.
  2. AGT will be asked to remove and replace boards as required.
  3. Review the state of the broken concrete on the paths.
  4. The owner of the North Wall creels will be asked to remove them before the end of March to allow temporary toilets to be placed there. DHMC will be briefed on the use of this space. It is not a designated creel storage area.
  5. Life ring ropes will be attended to at the next Harbour walkabout.
  6. The next walkabout will take place on 27th January at 1.00 p.m.

Gardening contract

It was agreed that local contractors will be asked if they are interested in cutting the grass around the harbours.

Weedkilling is contracted out to East Lothian Council, unless the contractor already has a licence.

It may be necessary to advertise on Dunbar-on-line if we do not identify someone quickly

Damage to forklift truck store

A joiner is required to fix the door. 

A local contractor may do the needful for us.

Slipway launch tickets

These have been ordered from Lothian Printers and need to be collected.

Donation Box or Liberty Pay

The RNLI shop on the High Street has an excellent Liberty Pay facility which would sort out campervan and day launch fees.  If this proves to be an impractical solution, we will need to revert to the donation box solution.

Community payback projects

This resource is available to the Trust and there are on-going discussions with the Council.

Skip management

The Board discussed the Government’s Scottish Marine Litter Strategy.  Although it was unclear whether Dunbar would be considered a “main fishing port”, the aims of the consultation paper received the support of the Board.

The Fishing for Litter campaign should continue.

A large skip should be organised with the fishermen in the Spring and another in the autumn to provide them with a facility to dispose of any end-of-life items. It is hoped that the current policy may eliminate the need for anything more than the Hamilton Waste facility, as we move towards a Zero Waste goal.

Now all fishing net and old rope (unless heavily contaminated) goes to Ally Mitchell to be recycled for his Ocean plastic plant pot business.  Old creels (except metal ones) can be taken to the recycling centre for crushing. The waste material is then processed for energy recovery. This is cost neutral to ELC and is not a heavy cost burden on the Trust. With the new truck regular trips can be made to the Council’s recycling centre, significantly reducing the annual skip charges and diverting material away from landfill. In terms of industrial waste, we are close to actually being zero waste. 

The matter will be referred to DHMC to see whether a large skip is required this Spring.

6 Retail and events

A. Retailers

James & Cheryl Bisset have submitted photographic evidence of their proposal for the new unit. This will form part of the 2022 application process, which will be considered by the Retail Sub-committee on Mon 7th February, with recommendations to the full Board at the meeting to be held on Thurs 10th Feb 2022

Applications for 2022 retail have been sent to all existing retailers, i.e., Sno Ice Creams, and to a new retail provider who made an enquiry end 2021. A decision was taken by the Retail Sub-committee last year that no new retail provision would be considered in 2022. However, it is worth considering the application as it may offer an alternative retail option and retail provision out with the existing trading hours. 

B. Events

Tide & Time

Andre Coner and Kenny Maule have joined the small team. Andre has agreed to develop and upload data onto the DHT website. Early entries can now be viewed at Events (dunbarharbourtrust.co.uk) Kenny has agreed to assist with development of the programme as copywriter. This data will inform both the website and the hard copy event programme. Other developments include a successful funding bid to the Dunbar Community Council, with funding of £6.5k approved. A further funding application will be considered by DELAP on 24th Jan. It was agreed that monies raised for the Tide & Time Festival will be held in the Harbour Festival Fund (the restricted TB Fund)

Volunteers will be required to man the many events at the Festival.

Dunbar Battery

Sun 21st November – A hugely successful performance by the Nevis Ensemble, well supported with a large audience and a healthy donation to the Trust funds from visitors.

Bookings 2022: 

End May (date tbc): Civic week Event

Sat 4th June 2022 – Private event

Fri 10th June – Black Agnes Festival

Sat 16th July – RNLI Lifeboat Day

Sat 13th August – Sparkling Dunbar Harbour Festival 

Fri 2nd -Sun 4th Sep – Dunbar Music Festival

Sat 10th Sep – Private Event

Civic Week will probably be mid-June as usual.

The Sparkling Dunbar Harbour Festival will be tide dependent.

7 Harbour Improvement plan

A. Users’ Meeting

The Users Meeting received the latest update on the three-year Harbour Improvement Plan.

B. enjoyleisure site

The Board of enjoyleisure does not wish to consider this subject until later on in 2022.

C. Marine tourism

A review meeting with Blue Wild has taken place to support planned growth of this marine tourism business.

D. Kittiwake Warden

The Harbour Trust has offered its support to a Norwich based company, ECON Ecological Consultancy Ltd, that is promoting the idea of a kittiwake warden at Dunbar who would work to protect and develop the kittiwake population in the town.

Anyone employed would be hired by East Lothian Council and the project involves no financial commitment from the Trust.

It is very early days, but preliminary discussions have revealed the depth of knowledge that Tara Sykes, one of our Countryside Rangers, has of Dunbar’s kittiwakes.

E. Maintenance Bay

The final specification needs to be signed off by the Board, and AG Thomson intends to complete this job by the end of March 2022 to secure the grant.

F. South Pier Road Improvements

These will be completed before the next meeting.

G. North Wall repairs

These are scheduled for March2022

H. Victoria Harbour stairs

These will be repaired by The Ridge

I. Interpretation Boards

The Boards destroyed in Storm Arwen will now be replaced.

J. North Wall Artwork

New artwork from local Primary Schools will join the existing works (safely stored away for the winter) on the North Wall in April. 

K. Fishermen’s Monument

The recent painting has stood up well to the winter weather, but another sacrificial coat of limewash will be applied before the season to smarten it up again.

L. Toilets

A sub-group meeting will discuss this challenging subject outside of a Board Meeting.

Any decisions will only be taken at a full Board Meeting once a thought-out proposal can be presented. The starting point will be the existing plan that has planning permission. An invitation will be sent out to all who want to attend.

M. Branders and ladders

There has been talk of additional branders and ladders in Cromwell Harbour, and possibly the Broadhaven. A case needs to be made to show the potential benefits of such a scheme, so that they can be measured up against any proposed cost.

8.  Any other competent business

Date of next meeting – Thursday 10th February 2022 in McArthur’s Store