Call to halt all northern docks developments over fears of unexploded bombs

A prominent city councilor has called for all development and construction in Liverpool’s North Docks to be halted until a full search for unexploded WWII bombs is carried out.

The call, from Liverpool Liberal Democrat leader Richard Kemp, comes after news was announced that development of the new Isle of Man ferry terminal in Liverpool will be delayed and costlier in part due to the need to remove the unexploded bombs from World War II development site. .

Infrastructure Minister Tim Baker told the House of Keys this week that the terminal, which is funded by the Isle of Man government, will exceed budget by at least £ 5million.

But Cllr Kemp said the issue raised concerns about the entire development of the North Docks.

In an email to Liverpool Council Managing Director Tony Reeves, he said: “I am sure you will be aware of the recent report to the Isle of Man government regarding the additional costs for their new terminal in ferry in the North Docks caused by unexploded explosions Bombs from World War II.

“It has raised serious concerns in my mind about any work going on in the North Docks.

“There must be a high probability that there are a lot of unexploded bombs in the Mersey, on the docks or on the ground due to the huge numbers that were dumped on the docks during the Liverpool blitz.”

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He added: “I think it is only common sense for the council and others, presumably MHCLG and the MoD, to conduct a full sonar exploration of these areas before any further development. makes sense for any current project. work to cease during this sonar overhaul. “

Much of the North Docks is owned by Peel L&P as part of its development at Liverpool Waters and the company said the potential unexploded bomb problem has been known and managed for some time, with clear procedures in place.

Philip Jones, Senior Project Manager, said: “At Peel L&P, the health and safety of the public and all who work at our sites is of paramount importance.

“The potential issues surrounding unexploded ordnance have been known for some time and clear policies and procedures, both during the statutory planning process and operationally once there, are in place to mitigate the associated risks. .

“As part of the planning phase, and prior to the start of any work on the site, several studies and investigations are carried out, including unexploded ordnance investigations. This is common in the reclamation of contaminated sites, such as Liverpool Waters.

“We are proud that on all Liverpool Waters construction projects our health and safety record is exemplary, with accident rates well below the national average – including work undertaken on the new site of the Isle of Man ferry terminal.

“We are confident that the regeneration of the docks in the north of the city will continue for the benefit of the local population and the economy of the city.”

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The planned new ferry terminal at Prince’s Dock was initially set to cost around £ 38million and is expected to be completed by December 2020 – but work has been repeatedly delayed.

It will be built at Prince’s Half-Tide Dock, half a mile from the current Pier Head facility – which will be decommissioned once the new terminal is complete.

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