Lake Lothing Third Crossing

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

Lake Lothing Third Crossing

Received 21 September 2018
From Lowestoft Cruising Club on behalf of Lowestoft Cruising Club

Representation

Agreements
1. Welcomed the setting up by Suffolk County Council (SCC) of the Navigation Working Group (NWG), which Lowestoft Cruising Club (LCC) attended and contributed. The minutes of the NWG meetings (APP-090) form an important discussion of the navigation issues for recreational vessels. We agree with the overall conclusions and expect them to be implemented, and welcome a later meeting for a discussion with contractors regarding risks and mitigation measures during the construction process.
2. We fully support the provision of a waiting pontoon off Nexen (APP-015, 040 & 041, APP-136, APP-198, APP-205, page 20, parag. 5 & 6).
3. While the Vessel Simulation Report (APP-198) only modelled larger commercial vessel movements, the LCC conclude that the navigation risks to recreational vessels when the bridge is operational are only marginally increased. However, the navigation risks are significantly increased during the construction phase, and all recommended mitigation measures should be undertaken, along with those defined in APP-208 Navigation Risk Assessment. See also APP-136, page331.
Disagreements
1. There is no clear commitment in the documentation (e.g. APP-136, page 330, parag. 15.5.18-21; Table 16-9) to maintain the existing navigation rights with at a minimum, openings of the new bridge to match the existing 24/7 opening schedule of the A47 bascule bridge, as given in ABP “Lowestoft Small Craft & Yacht Notice”, dated 7 November 2011.
While most motor yachts will not require the new bridge to open, many larger yachts will require the new bridge to open and integrate with the A47 bascule bridge openings. The opening schedule for the new bridge should only be decided with the full involvement of the maritime community west of the bridge.
2. The summer closure of the western part of Lake Lothing to vessels for three weeks during the positioning of the bridge is unacceptable.
APP-136, page 58, parag. 5.6.20 states [to quote] “For the purposes of the assessment it has been assumed that this possession [of navigation channel] will take place for three consecutive weeks during the summer months when recreational vessel movements in Lake Lothing are likely to be highest”.
See APP-136, pages 328/9, parag. 15.5.9, Table 16-9 and page 356; parag. 16.7.1. We disagree with the quote that “the majority of vessels do not navigate to the west of the scheme”. The western end of Lake Lothing has four marinas, additional moorings, and also vessels traverse to and from the Mutford Lock. From the Vessel Survey Report (APP-208) one can deduce that closure of the navigation channel for three weeks in the summer would stop at least 400 vessel movements and create a moderate adverse impact (Table 15-2), not the “slight impact” given in paragraph 15.5.9 or the “minor adverse and not significant” impact quoted in Table 16-9 and page 356, parag. 16.7.1.
We cannot agree that (to quote) "During this time[three weeks], no recreational vessel will be able to navigate through Lake Lothing to or from the North Sea but this does not constitute a significant effect due to the duration of the closure.” (APP-205 , page 20, parag. 3).
A three week closure in the sailing season would influence a much longer period as vessels cruising before the closure would be unable to return to their moorings, and vessels planning to leave in e.g. school holidays for an extended cruise could well miss their cruising opportunity for the whole season.
A three week closure might be acceptable if it takes place between November and March, the quietest part of the sailing season.