Claims Corpach port expansion could end noise issue

The already busy port at Corpach would be even busier if the expansion project gets the go-ahead.

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A particularly irritating noise emanating from the harbour that has been disturbing the peace of Corpach residents for a considerable time has been revealed as ‘donking’.

The issue of ‘donking’ arose at last week’s Kilmallie Community Council, which among various issues, discussed the ongoing complaints about noise and other disturbance as a result of local port and industrial operations.

The meeting was debating an update on a feasibility study currently being carried out into the creation of a deepwater port at Corpach.

The word ‘donking’ describes a process whereby logs are lined up for loading into the hold of a ship and which can create a loud ‘banging’ type noise.

Calum Boyd, of Boyd Brothers Haulage, which is based at Annat Pier, told the meeting that a solution to cut out such noise was probably available through the use of specialised hydraulic equipment. ‘There would obviously be costs involved,’ he added.

‘But if this new development [deepwater port expansion] did get the go-ahead, then it would mean more funding and not having any donking.’

However, resident Norman Clark also raised the issues of disturbance caused by ships’ onboard generators running throughout the night, as well as ships sometimes docking in port on a Sunday.

‘They are not supposed to dock on Sundays. I’d like the local public  to be considered as much as the pounds coming in,’ said Mr Clark.

Mr Boyd told him a lot of newer ships are better insulated, but that some of the older vessels were a bit noisier.

But community council secretary Russell Leaper said it seemed common for most ports to now provide onshore electricity supplies for docked vessels.

Mr Boyd replied: ‘We can provide that at shoreside but that is also a cost.’

However, Liam Browning, a director of Great Glen Shipping, which is based in Corpach, said there was not a single port in the Highlands which his company’s ships used which did not have a ‘plug-in’ electricity facility on the shore. ‘And at every port, we’ve been able to load on a Sunday,’ he added.

But Mr Clark shot back: ‘It might be okay for you to say that just happens but you don’t live here – there has got to be some acceptance of the lives of local people .

‘You are wanting to work 24 hours a day, for seven days a week, but there’s got to be a break somewhere.’

The feasibility study is being worked on by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), along with Boyd Brothers Haulage and Liberty British Aluminium.

Alastair Nicolson of HIE told the meeting there would be further updates on the study in due course.