Funding secured for Leigh-on-Sea fishing port study

Published Monday, 26th February 2018

North Thames Fisheries Local Action Group logo

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has secured £71,195 of funding to undertake a study to help the port at Leigh remain accessible by all maritime uses, including the fishing and cockling industries.

The funding has been awarded to the North Thames Fisheries Local Action Group (NTFLAG): a three year programme of EU funding to support the fishing industry in and around the Leigh-on-Sea area.

The need to investigate the infrastructure at Leigh-on-Sea port has been outlined in several past strategies, including the 2002 Southend Fisheries Strategy and more recently in the Leigh-on-Sea Coastal Community Team Economic Plan.

Cllr Ann Holland, Executive Councillor for Culture, Tourism and the Economy and member of NTFLAG said: “Leigh-on-Sea has benefited from an established fishing community for centuries. This community has been important in shaping how the area has developed.  However, in recent times the fishing industry has come under increasing pressures, in part due to the silting up of Leigh Creek which restricts vessel access. The traditional and active fishing port of Leigh-on-Sea is the last of its kind within the Thames Estuary and a crucial part of the local economy. Therefore, it is important to establish sustainable solutions for long-term access to the port.”

NTFLAG Chairman Andrew Rattley said: “This is an important piece of work for the NTFLAG and the fishing and cockling industry in Leigh-on-Sea. It is critical that we identify long-term sustainable solutions for port access, and we are delighted that the Council has secured this funding through the NTFLAG. We really hope that anyone with a view, knowledge or experience of Leigh Creek or the wider area will respond to the consultation so that Mott MacDonald have the very best chance of identifying clear options.”

The Council is working with consultants Mott MacDonald, who are also working on the Southend-on-Sea Shoreline Strategy, to undertake the study. They will work with project partners and stakeholders to identify appropriate and sustainable options. This will be a first stage study, with further work to follow should suitable and sustainable options be identified.

NTFLAG is funded through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and is managed by Thames Estuary Partnership along with many other local partners including the fishing industry, Leigh Port Partnership, Leigh Town Council and the Cultural Engine. EMFF funding in England is overseen by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

The study has four objectives:

  1. Find cost effective and sustainable solutions to improve the long-term access to Leigh port for all vessels.
  2. Identify opportunities for effective long-term management and operations of the port facilities.
  3. Establish solutions which are compatible with the natural environment.
  4. Find solutions which support the aspirations for the future of Leigh Port as set out in the FLAG Local Development Strategy.

The consultation period begins on February 26 and will run to 23 April of this year. Within these eight weeks there are a variety of ways to get involved with your view on the future of the port.

There will be two consultation events held within Old Leigh where you can meet Mott MacDonald and other NTFLAG representatives:

- 16 March 10-5pm – Leigh Heritage Centre

- 22 March 2-9pm – Leigh Heritage Centre

  1. Online platform of StickyWorld where you can comment on an interactive map.
  2. Fill out our feedback form for postal return. These will be available at the consultations, or you can download them from the Better Southend website

If you would like to know more about the North Thames FLAG, please visit the website.