Harbour boss hopes to ease port “bureaucracy”

Wells harbour master Robert Smith hopes to work with the government to ease 'bureaucracy' which he believes is causing major frustrations for people working in small ports throughout the country.

An aid of parliamentary under-secretary of state for transport Stephen Hammond is due to visit Wells this summer to speak to Mr Smith about his concerns and to tour the harbour and see the port infrastructure.

This follows a meeting between Mr Smith and Mr Hammond at the British Ports Association annual general meeting in London, during which Mr Smith spoke on behalf of all small ports in the UK.

Mr Smith, who has worked in Wells harbour for 24 years and has been harbour master since 2001, said: 'Small ports make a massive contribution to their local economies and we are all working for the good of our local communities.

'But the job has changed enormously since I started.

'We used to be able to get on with things but now there is so much red tape and bureaucracy to deal with and it's incredibly frustrating.'

Mr Smith added: 'I had an interesting meeting with Mr Hammond and he was very in touch with the problems small ports are facing.

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'I am very pleased that Mr Hammond is sending one of his aids to Wells and I hope this could help to improve the situation.

'This is also quite a coup for Wells.

'Ten years ago I don't think those in central government would know where we are but now they are taking an interest in us and that shows how far we have come.'

Meanwhile, as part of Wells Harbour Commissioners' community initiatives, a defibrillator has been purchased which is situated in the harbour office.

This will benefit harbour users, residents of the town and visitors.

A defibrillator delivers an electric shock to the heart when someone is having a cardiac arrest. Harbour staff have been trained on its use.

Wells Harbour Commissioners' annual public meeting will be at The Maltings in Wells on May 20 at 7pm.

Members of the public are invited to send questions in writing in advance by May 9 to the harbour office or by email to harbouroffice@wellsharbour.co.uk

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