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Safety first at former Sheerness Steel site

By John Nurden

Peel Ports says it has completed 100,000 man-hours without a single injury during its Wellmarsh project.

The work has included demolishing one of the former Sheerness Steel buildings on the Isle of Sheppey, dealing with contaminated ground and creating a new bridge over Brielle Way.

Port director Paul Barker said “Safety is our most important business priority and this is reflected in the culture we instill on site. We selected contractors with industry-leading procedures and practices who clearly demonstrated the values we require. 

Peel Ports' Paul Barker

Peel Ports' Paul Barker

“In most cases, we picked Kent firms which employed direct labour ensuring our capital investment stayed in the local economy. A culture of zero harm is an inherent part of our business practices.”

Group health and safety director Ron Hunter said: “The 100,000 hour milestone is evidence that our Safety365 Initiative, aimed at reducing the number of workplace accidents to zero across Peel Ports Group, is working. 

“I am extremely proud of the team at London Medway as this is a great achievement.”

Work on the new bridge over the Brielle Way. Photo Peel Ports

Work on the new bridge over the Brielle Way. Photo: Peel Ports

Wellmarsh is a major plank in Peel Ports London Medway’s 20-year master plan for Sheppey.

A spokesman admitted: “The construction has been particularly challenging, involving complex demolition works as well as remediation of contaminated land next to an operational area.”

The 100,000 hours include work on the new Wildfire Bridge which is to open next month.

Brielle Way - before the bridge

Brielle Way - before the bridge

The new Wildfire Bridge across the Brielle Way almost completed

The new Wildfire Bridge across the Brielle Way almost completed

Once completed, the £3 million bridge will link the Port of Sheerness with Wellmarsh – the site’s historic name - which is being turned into a giant car park to handle imported vehicles.

The 6.5m-high bridge has been made of steel girders painted blue to reflect the heritage of Blue Town.

It will be 230m long, the equivalent of almost two football pitches, when finished.

Peel Ports is also planning to reclaim up to 183 acres of land for expansion, mixed-use developments and a new marina near Tesco over the next 20 years.

Part of the huge demolition process of the former Sheerness steel plant.

Part of the huge demolition process of the former Sheerness steel plant.

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