KIRKCALDY;'dredging of Kirkcaldy Harbour'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON
KIRKCALDY;'dredging of Kirkcaldy Harbour'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON

DREDGING work has begun in Kirkcaldy harbour, in a move that will make way for re-opening Kirkcaldy to cargo ships.

The removal of silt from the sea bed started on Thursday, and will continue for four weeks, with huge dredgers occupying the wharf during certain tide times.

The work is being done in order to clear a path for large cargo ships to transport wheat direct to Hutchison Flour Mill, in a £829,000 reconstruction which will revitalise the area.

Once the dredging and other construction works have been completed at the mill, locals will see the first ships back into the harbour in more than two decades.

Working harbour

Nik Scott-Gray, business development manager of Forth Ports PLC, said: “We are making changes to revitalise Kirkcaldy Harbour and make it a working harbour once again.

‘‘Our partners in this project, Hutchison’s Flour Mill, are currently modernising their facility at the harbour with the creation of new silos and conveyers which will allow them to reactivate shipping operations.

“In order to facilitate the vessels’ arrival this summer, dredging of Kirkcaldy Harbour must take place to remove the decades of silt which has built up in the harbour.”

The company sent out letters to all residents in the nearby flats which overlook the harbour, advising them of the work that will be taking place. However, reassurances have been made that there will be minimal disruption for locals.

Tidal work

Mr Scott-Gray added that dredging will work to a two-hour window each tide, and during this process the amount of night-time working will be limited.

He confirmed that the dredging will not bring up any unpleasant smells, as were the concerns from some nearby residents.

The first cargo is expected to arrive at the flour mill in the summer, with flour bosses saying the move will mean 2000 truck journeys through the town will be avoided every year.

Tim Hall, operations director at Hutchison Flour, said: “This will allow us to bring in significant quantities of the different wheats we require by sea rather than by road, giving us potential to supply our customers with more consistent quality flours through difficult conditions.”