40,000 Euro project to find sustainable way to remove seaweed funded by EU

The project begins on 1st May and will look at sustainable ways to remove the seaweed from Ventnor Harbour – something that currently costs the tax payer £87,500 a year

Ventnor Harbour

A Ventnor town councillor has been instrumental in securing European funding for a project to find a sustainable way to clear seaweed from the Haven.

The cost of removing seaweed from the Haven by Cheetah Marine comes in at £87,420 a year, paid for by the Isle of Wight council (IWC), making the Harbour a loss-making asset.

The 40,000 Euro project is due to start on 1st May and won’t cost the Ventnor Town Council (VTC) a penny.

Watling: Confident study will help us to find best possible solution
Ventnor town councillor, Colm Watling, told News OnTheWight,

“Clearing seaweed in the Haven is one part of the very complex jigsaw of making Ventnor haven sustainable, both economically and environmentally.

“I’ve been trying to find ways of improving the Haven’s situation since I joined Ventnor Town Council, and I’m confident this study will help us to find the best possible solution.” 

Rotten smell
The problem of rotting seaweed creating a strong unpleasant smell in the Haven has been ongoing for many years.

Prior to the contract beginning, the deep drifts of seaweed would build-up in the Haven, with the smell putting off visitors to the town as well as affecting locals.  

Sustainable removal of seaweed
With the Isle of Wight council looking to offload the Harbour, this new project which aims to look at ways of sustainably clearing the seaweed from Haven.

It’s thought it could result in the seaweed being sold on for use in agriculture or industry (as they do in Brittany and Normandy) and by offsetting any income generated against the cost of seaweed collection, the project could help reduce the burden on tax payers and make the Island more sustainable. 

Peace: The Haven is essential to Ventnor
Cllr Gary Peace said,

“I fully support Cllr Watling’s efforts to fix a long running and expensive problem. As the only active County Councillor in the area I have been involved in discussions about the Haven for a number of years now at an IWC level with both VTC and IWC officers, and its vitally important that we continue to support efforts to get it sorted as soon as we possibly can. 

“The Haven is essential to Ventnor, to both Cheetah Marine and to the fishery itself.

“Ventnor and the Island benefit through the employment and money generated from those Island based businesses. And I will add my weight to any viable option to fix the seaweed problem once and for all.”

Image: londonmatt under CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, 13th April, 2021 6:17pm


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Filed under: Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story, Ventnor

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13 Comments on "40,000 Euro project to find sustainable way to remove seaweed funded by EU"

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B&Q now sell bags of compost enriched with seaweed; I’ve used some, it’s good stuff. It has been shown in many gardening programmes that seaweed is a good fertiliser. Maybe instead of just putting it back into the sea, it could be landed and used by one of the Islands compost providers? Maybe some of the grant could be used to investigate whether this is feasible. If… Read more »

Perhaps if I suggested it could even make a profit, then the IW council might just wake up?


A great initiative – we desperately need a solution to this problem, as we can’t afford to keep funding it from our taxes. I’m surprised that the EU is funding it, but imagine that Colm secured the funding for this project before Brexit, and the pandemic delayed its start.

Benny C
I agree 100%. A Councillor doing something really smart, how excellent is that! This is showing initiative to a good standard, something we get so little of from others elected to the same position. IOWC take note. First Ryde show you up, now it’s starting in Ventnor. Meanwhile Ian Ward orders some more trousers, Dave Stewart tries to ram a manic motorcycle race through communities living an… Read more »
For cultivated sea weed to be viable it needs to be harvested as seaweed, and only seaweed, best collected from a depth of water. The residue that builds up in Ventnor harbour will be interspersed with sand, and the cost to remove and separate the two would be prohibitive and pointless, especially when so much open water sea weed is readily available. The over qualified, yet inexperienced… Read more »
Either someone read my last post when this issue cropped up or someone has actually figured out seaweed is good for soil. Wasn’t rocket science, all they need to do is gather and dump on “waste” land then nature will take its course and there will be no smells bothering Ventnor. Or they could off load to someone who has facilities to wash and dry to turn… Read more »

Are there more details about the fund that was applied for? I’m very surprised that it’s secured EU funding.


Seaweed used to be and could again be a very good fertiliser see:- https://www.theislandwiki.org/index.php/Vraic also dried for fuel, and some varieties are used in foodstuffs!
So I hope they look at all avenues rather than just dumping it to rot.