Dee Conservancy is the formal name given to a defined harbour area for which Natural Resources Wales, (NRW), is the conservancy, harbour and local lighthouse authority. This harbour area includes the River Dee and its estuary, extending from Wilcox Point downstream of the weir at Chester, seawards to an imaginary line linking the Point of Ayr on the Welsh coast to Hilbre Point on the Wirral peninsular.

The Port Marine Safety Code (PMSC, the Code), last published by the Department of Transport (DfT) in December 2012 and revised and re-issued in 2017, requires harbour authorities to publish a safety plan for marine operations. The plan should illustrate how the policies and procedures will be developed by the authority to satisfy the requirements of the Code.

Policy statement

The Policy of NRW as it relates to marine safety and the users of the Dee Conservancy is reproduced below.

NRW is committed to promoting good management of its available resources so as to:

  • Undertake and regulate marine operations in a way that safeguards the Dee Conservancy, its users, the public and the environment to achieve the standard of marine safety required by the Code.
  • Promote the use of the Dee Conservancy and ensure that its economic development considers and balances the views and needs of all stakeholders, with respect to the sustainable management of natural resources.

Plan objectives

To meet the requirements of the Code and its Policy Statement, NRW will develop and implement the following objectives:

  • The relevant duties and powers will be kept under review to ensure NRW can effectively regulate and conserve safe navigation within its statutory harbour area and approaches.
  • The Dee Conservancy Marine Safety Management System (DCMSMS) will be maintained based on thorough assessment of risk.
  • Risk assessments for marine operations will be kept under review to ensure that they remain valid, and the controls identified to mitigate against risks are appropriate and effective in reducing the risks to as low as reasonably practicable.
  • The monitoring, inspection and review requirements documented in the DCMSMS will be implemented as appropriate by the Dee Conservancy Harbour Master, a nominated deputy, or authorised contractor.
  • NRW will provide aids to navigation to enhance safety of navigation and meet the requirements of the General Lighthouse Authority (Trinity House).
  • NRW will monitor and maintain its aids to navigation to ensure their performance standards meet the target requirements set by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA).
  • Independent audits of the DCMSMS will be conducted annually to monitor performance against the required standards.
  • The results of the audits will be submitted via the Dee Conservancy Designated Person’s report to the NRW Executive Director of Operations, as Duty Holder.
  • NRW will ensure that any audit deficiencies or safety enhancements identified through the audit process are actioned in a timely manner.
  • The audit findings along with NRW’s performance against this Safety Plan for Marine Operations will be published annually by the Duty Holder.
  • This Safety Plan for Marine Operations will be published on the NRW’s website. The plan will be reviewed annually and if deemed necessary changes will be made and the amended plan published.
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