Charities benefit from gas pipeline cash

A row between fishermen and a company which laid a key seabed gas pipeline between Norfolk and Europe will have a happy ending for maritime charities.

A row between fishermen and a company which laid a key seabed gas pipeline between Norfolk and Europe will have a happy ending for maritime charities.

The BBL Company, which built the 150 mile pipeline linking Balgzand in the Netherlands to Bacton, set aside a pot of £400,000 as an inconvenience payment for those fishermen affected by the construction phase of the project.

Not all of the money has been claimed, so the leftover £40,000 will be handed to fishermen's charities this week.

BBL bosses said a number of fishermen were not eligible to receive or were unable to collect their payments. Contracts drawn up at the start of the dispute stated any unclaimed funds would be donated to marine charities.

A total of £10,000 will be given to the Caister Lifeboat today and tomorrow in Lowestoft cheques of £10,000 will be handed to the Fishermen's and Sea Farers Benevolent Society, £5,000 to the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen and £15,000 to the Lowestoft and East Suffolk Maritime Society.

Project manager Piet Bijmold said: “We assigned the sum of £400,000 to the fishermen and it was agreed that any money not claimed should be donated to charities which operate for their benefit.

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“We chose these particular charities because of the nature of the work that they do.

“Whilst we are saddened that, for a variety of reasons not all the fishermen were eligible for payment, we are delighted that we are able to donate the remaining funds to such worthwhile causes.”

BBL has already made a number of gifts for the benefit of the local community at Bacton and the neighbouring villages. These have included help for Bacton village hall, footpaths and cyclepaths in the Mundesley area, the Bacton Playgroup and the Mundesley Lifeboat.