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.”
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.”