Investigation sparks change of operators at Richmond Dry Dock

Richmond Dock received its first ships since reopening in September.

Richmond Dock received its first ships since reopening in September. - Credit: Archant

The running of the dock has been taken over by South West Metals after Environment Agency investigate noise and odour-related complaints from Appledore residents.

Video: Watch the first ships entering Richmond Dry Dock to be broken down for 40 years when it reopened in September 2012.

A DRY dock is under the operation of a different company after the Environment Agency confirmed it was investigating complaints made about the site.

South West Metals has taken over the ship dismantling and metal recycling responsibilities at Richmond Dry Dock from former tenants FTD Marine.

The Environment Agency said it had received ‘a number of complaints’ relating to noise and odours breaching the dock’s environmental licence.


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Paul Gainey, a spokesman for the Environment Agency, confirmed the dock was under investigation but hoped the change around would improve the situation for residents.

He said: “We received a number of complaints from people living near the dock, particularly about the noise levels and odours from the site.

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“We will be looking at our enforcement powers but our main priority is to work with the operators to see how the problem can be resolved.”

Shawn Akers, director of South West Metals, said the company would be ensuring it was fully compliant with the regulations of the dock.

He said: “We have a more modern plant and equipment that will reduce the impact of works on the local community.

“A working dock inevitably produces some noise, vibration and dust; however we will ensure that we are fully compliant with the regulations and that no work is undertaken outside of the permitted hours.”

Dock owner Simon Maunder confirmed FTD Marine would now only be involved in sourcing vessels to be broken down.

He said: “I was concerned the Environment Agency had issues with the site and I wanted to make sure the dock wasn’t jeopardised.

“It’s taken a long time to get it working again after 40 years and it would be a great shame if the Environment Agency felt a need to stop it working.

“I tried to develop the dock and Appledore said that’s not what it wanted, that it wanted to see its dock working again.

“I hope with South West Metal’s good reputation and previous work with the Environment Agency, this will rectify the problem.”

Martin Mogford, operations director for South West Metals, added: “We believe we can work in line with the aspirations of the Environment Agency and the local residents and employ more modern methods, such as mechanical shears, to reduce the amount of burning, noise and pollution.

“South West Metal’s environmental, health and safety manager, Reg Pearce, will work with the Environment Agency, subcontractors and the local community to ensure our operations run smoothly and are fully compliant.”

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