From Wayne Pritchett, retired Newport Harbourmaster, Newport:

I write in response to the article published (CP, 19-05-21), concerning the council's proposal to carry out dredging at Newport Harbour.

I wish to correct the statement that dredgers would return to the harbour for the first time since the 1970s.

In fact it was 2003 that annual dredging was discontinued, as I was instructed not to apply to renew the dredging licence, as dredging funds were no longer available.

From 1973 until 1985 I operated the council's own dredging equipment and dredging would involve taking the material to landfill sites.

From 1985 until 2003 I personally authorised dredging works and applied annually for the dredging licence, on an ever decreasing budget available, as attention was directed to the new Ryde Harbour and Ventnor Haven.

Later, many different contractors were hired to carry out dredging works and our permitted sea disposal area was Hurst Narrows, one of the few harbour authority areas to use this site.

Almost certainly any new licence would direct you to The Nab, incurring extra time and costs.

In the end our contractors' mobilisation and demobilisation charges and the annual licence fee took up our limited budget.

I hope this time the new council will continue to support and invest in this unique harbour.

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