Work starting on major £3m overhaul for vital Plymouth flood defence barrier

Work starts next week (Monday September 4) on a major £3m repair and maintenance project for Plymouth’s lock gates at Sutton Harbour.

The project, which is being managed by the Environment Agency, with funding from the UK Government, will see the replacement of worn lock gate cills and other key maintenance items, with the work being carried out by contractor Kier.

The lock gates are a key part of the city’s coastal defences, protecting hundreds of homes and businesses from flooding, and providing access to the marina and fish quays in the Sutton Harbour and Barbican area of the city.

Sutton Harbour Company, which is the Statutory Harbour Authority, and which operates the lock, Plymouth Fisheries and Sutton Harbour Marina, has been working closely with the Environment Agency and Kier in planning for the project and how operations and access will be maintained in the harbour.

During the works there will be times of restricted access through the lock and an access timetable has been produced. All mariners using the harbour are encouraged to plan their trips around this timetable.

For the majority of the works the lock will function on a tidal freeflow basis, with an hour of access at the beginning and end of the freeflow period during working hours, and generally up to three hours either side of high tide during non-working hours. There will be a limited number of 24-hour closures, all clearly set out in the access timetable. Access will be maintained for pedestrians using the swing bridge across the lock.

Mariners are also reminded that the Duty Lock Keeper will broadcast on VHF CH 12, on the hour from 07.00 to 19.00 daily during the works, updating access times. Vessels are advised to listen to these broadcasts for the most accurate passage times through the lock, and to initiate communication with the lock in advance in regard to their travel plans.

Work to the outer gates will take place between 4th September 2023 – 8th December 2023. However, there are no planned restrictions on the operation of the lock gates after 7th November 2023, while the remainder of the first phase works are completed.

Where necessary, mitigation measures have been put in place to support the continued operation of Plymouth’s fishing fleet and marina leisure users. Users are encouraged to refer to the documents circulated previously in regards to these mitigation measures. These documents will continue to be updated regularly to reflect ongoing consultations and experience during the conduct of the works by the EA. Notices of updates will be issued, and users are encouraged to refer to the project website on a regular basis.