Strategy Document






December 2020



Glasson Dock is situated on the south bank of the River Lune approximately five miles south of the City of Lancaster, and has on its east and west boundaries SSSI’s which fall within the Port of Glasson’s harbour area and cover approximately seventeen square miles. It is a tidal port with a fifteen-metre-wide gate access to the inner dock, where there are two berths which can accommodate vessels up to 84 metres long and one to accommodate vessels up to 58 metres long.  There are also two NAABSA berths, which can accommodate vessels up to 95 and 90 metres long respectively.

There is quayside under cover storage of approximately 98,000 sq.ft. together with outdoor stockpiling facilities for bulk cargoes.

Handling facilities include two 70 tonne and four 18 tonne cranes, which can be rigged to handle bulk or general cargoes and containers, together with three 50 tonne dockside weighbridges and assorted fork trucks, telescopic handlers and loading shovels.

Cargoes frequently handled at Glasson include animal feed, cereals, fertilizer, aggregates, general cargo and containers.

The earliest Act of Parliament giving direct reference to the Port of Lancaster was passed in the twenty third year of the reign of George II. The construction of the port at Glasson began in 1783 and the powers of the Port Commission were confirmed by an Act passed in the twelfth year of the reign of George III, and later by the Harbour Dock and Piers Act of 1847, the Lancaster Port Commission Harbour Revision Orders 1967, 1994 and 2003 and the Lancaster Port Commission Bye-Laws 2007.

Glasson Dock is a Trust Port and therefore a Statutory Body run by a Board of Trustees. It is a commercially run organisation, which is required to re-invest all profits back into the port for the benefit of all users and wider regional and local interests.


The present board members are as follows:

Mrs E White                       Chief Executive Officer.  Expertise – Environmental Matters & Law.

Mr A Royce                        Practising Commercial Solicitor.  Expertise – Laws relating to England.

Mr P J Mulvenna               Retired Solicitor.  Expertise – Law, Public Administration, Environmental Health, Personnel & Arbitration.

Mr J Lauder                        Chartered Surveyor.  Expertise – Asset Management.

Mrs A Rayson                    Paediatric Occupational Therapist.  Experience – Recreational boating.

Mr P Monk                         Retired Engineer.  Expertise – Engineering, Business Management.

Mrs M Stainton                 Retired HR Specialist.  Expertise – Public Relations, HR Management.

Mr Craig Hewitt-Smith     Business Owner.  Expertise – Commercial Marketing, Business Management.

There are 7 staff employed by the Commission:

Chief Executive:  Mrs Elsabe White

Harbour Master / Pilot:  Mr Justin Denham

Office Manager:  Mr Craig Beattie

3 F/T & 1 P/T general port operatives who share between them the duties of Pilot boat coxswain, gatemen, rope men and general maintenance.


The Trust Port Board of the Lancaster Port Commission, as Duty Holder under the terms of the Port Marine Safety Code, are collectively and individually responsible for compliance with the Code, and they cannot assign or delegate their accountability. The Board aims to run a safe, efficient, effective and sustainable port operation for the benefit of all stakeholders, including the wider community as well as port users. To meet the national requirements of the Port Marine Safety Code, the Board has appointed an external ‘Designated Person’ to provide independent assurance of an effective safety management system.

The Lancaster Port Commission aims to fulfil all its statutory responsibilities whilst meeting the changing needs of the marine sector and others with an interest in the activities of the port.

The Lancaster Port Commission aims to maximise the quality and value for money of its services to maintain existing business and to attract new business to the port.

The Lancaster Port Commission aims to meet National Standards for Trust Ports and ensure that it is open and accountable in all its activities.


In the mid to late sixties, Glasson Dock was virtually moribund. In the early seventies, the Lancaster Port Commission granted a lease to a scrap dealing company, and imported, sea-dredged sand was also discharged at Glasson, but towards the late seventies, the port was again in decline.

Lancaster Port Commission then leased a large percentage of quayside land and storage to Glasson Grain Ltd who have been responsible for attracting new trade to the port, including animal feeding stuffs, fertilizers, general cargo and coal.

In the mid-eighties, the Port Commission invested one million pounds in the building of a new quay and NAABSA berth, and in the construction of a wider harbour gate.

The port now handles up to 250 commercial vessels per year.

Pleasure craft also regularly transit the harbour to gain access to the thriving yacht marina and the Lancaster to Preston Canal System, which due to the opening of the Ribble Link in 2002, is now connected to the rest of the UK canal system.

A new berth bottom was constructed on the East Wall berth in 2001, which has led to reduced maintenance costs and less environmental disturbance.

The Flood Alleviation Scheme around Glasson was completed in 2003.

The lighthouse at South End, Walney was automated in 2003

The Lancaster Port Commission Harbour Revision (Constitution) Order 2003 was passed by Parliament and came into force on 29 October 2003.

The new Lancaster Port Commission Bye-Laws came into operation in 2007.

A Management Agreement, under Section 17 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, is held with English Heritage regarding maintenance of the quay surfaces at Glasson Dock; Scheduled Monument No 169.

Copies of an East Quay Archaeological Assessment were lodged with the Lancashire County Service and Historic Environment Record, English Heritage and the Lancashire Record Office in 2011.

The Port Commission Archives have been transferred from the City Library to the County Records Office in Preston where they are being conserved and are readily accessible by the public.

Undercover storage was increased in 2010/11 by replacing the old East Quay Transit Shed with a new steel portal framed cargo shed. The new building is suitable for bulk storage, whereas the old building could only accommodate palletised storage satisfactorily.

During 2012, a Water Framework Directive Assessment and Baseline Maintenance Dredge Protocol for dredging activities was drawn up, to comply with environmental & coastal legislation.

Acquisition of second pilot boat in 2013; the ‘PV Trelawney’ from Falmouth and in 2014, a second bulldozer acquired to improve the efficiency of berth maintenance.

Installation of mooring bollards on the North Wall Berth to facilitate longer vessels.

The Mission to Seafarers installed Wi-Fi connectivity at Glasson Dock in 2014, for use by visiting cargo vessels.

The river-side embankment at the northern end of the North Wall Berth was re-profiled in 2015 and stabilised to prevent land slippage, which was causing obstruction and deflection of the navigable channel.



  • Major repair works were completed on the Plover Scar Lighthouse in the River Lune Estuary, which was severely damaged by a vessel allision in March 2016. All the necessary environmental requirements and marine licences were put in place to enable the dismantling and reconstruction of the damaged upper sections.
  • The old grab-hopper dredger ‘MV Merger’ was broken up on the beach off East Wall at Glasson and sent for recycling.  Work was carried out using a competent salvage company and with full oversight by the Environment Agency.
  • New lighting equipment was installed at Walney Lighthouse.
  • Refresher oil spill training was undertaken by five employees.
  • The pilot vessel ‘Trelawney’ passed the four-yearly MCA Inspection.


Port Marine Safety Code (PMSC)

The 2017 annual audit of the Marine Safety Management System for 2016 gave the following results:

–           100% availability of pilots for 111 Acts of Pilotage

–           Full compliance of Pilot Boats to MCA requirements

–           155 cargo vessel visits during 2016.

–           PANAR reporting: 100% availability of navigation lights; GLA satisfactory audits.

–           26 formal hydrography surveys throughout 2016.

–           40 Notices to Mariners issued during 2016.

–           Next three-yearly plan review due 2020, covering 2017-19.

Oil Spill Contingency Plan (OPRC)

Regulatory requirements for Plan Review and Exercises completed in 2016 and Annual Return submitted. Plan Approved by MCA on 4 December 2014, valid until 4 December 2019.

Port Waste Management

Returns submitted. Plan Approved by MCA on 8 September 2015, valid until 8 September 2018.

International Ship and Port Security (ISPS)

Regulatory requirements for Exercises and Audits completed in 2016. Plan approved by DfT on 15 January 2013, Security Certificate valid until 4 January 2023.  DfT Port Security Assessment completed and approved.  DfT inspection – no non-conformities issued.


–           The Board of the Trust comprises seven members plus the Chief Executive, in line with The Lancaster Port Commission Harbour Revision (Constitution) Order 2003 and the Trust Port Review.


–           to maintain port operational buildings, plant, equipment, harbour facilities and quays in good serviceable order.

–           to invest in port facilities where a need is identified.

–           to keep existing business and attract new activities.

–           to formally train all port operatives in necessary skills.

–           to regularly survey and to maintain adequate buoyage to the navigable channel of the River Lune

–           to maintain practices and procedures to ensure safe navigation within the port area limits, in line with the requirements of the Port Marine Safety Code and the Guide to Good Practice on Port Marine Operations.

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