Managing and informing contractors

It is important that contractors are fully briefed by port and harbour management prior to the commencement of dredging and disposal works. Contracting procedures may include the requirement for method statements and risk assessments for operations to be provided by the contractors. These should be agreed by the port or harbour before the works are allowed to proceed (ABP Research R707 1997). When renewing contractors, CIRIA (1997) suggest that tenders should considered from companies who can demonstrate through good performance on similar work and that they are competent to carry out the work required. When briefing contractors consideration should be given to the factors indicated below.

Issues to consider when briefing contractors about dredging works in marine SACs

When briefing a contractor consideration should be given to:

  • providing information on the marine SAC and the features for which the site was designated, and if appropriate outlining areas which are particularly sensitive to the effects of dredging at specific times of year which were identified in the consent process as a constraints to dredging operations,
  • timing of operations,
  • hydrodynamic conditions at the excavation and disposal location,
  • use of BATNEEC dredging methodology, and
  • particular areas of the dredging and disposal operations where contractor error can cause adverse effects on marine features.

Dredger operators should follow proper safety procedures to avoid accidents and spills, and ports and harbours need to ensure that other vessel users are provided with adequate information and instruction to avoid conflict with the dredgers. In order to reduce the potential for contractor error resulting in adverse environmental affects, ports and harbours should endeavour to regularly monitor the operations of the contractor during dredging and disposal activities. Bearing in mind a port’s duty as a relevant authority, with the possibility of judicial review of its actions, the written instructions given to dredging contractors, and documented monitoring of their performance take on a new significance.

Within the last ten years education and training on environmental issues has risen up on the agenda. With regard to dredging, knowledge of the most effective techniques can only be gained through experience. Therefore it has been suggested that the relevant labour force should be educated on marine environmental matters to minimise the detrimental effects on marine species as a result of the dredging process (ICE 1995).

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