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Solar loos installed at Queenborough Harbour, Sheppey


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Bosses at Queenborough Harbour on the Isle of Sheppey are really getting down to business as they boost their green credentials.

They have just taken delivery of a pair of solar-powered loos to ensure the floating pontoon on the all-tide landing stage is environmentally friendly.

David Lavender and Rachel Collier 'baptising' the new solar loos on Queenborough Harbour's pontoon
David Lavender and Rachel Collier 'baptising' the new solar loos on Queenborough Harbour's pontoon
The new solar loos are craned into position on Queenborough Harbour's pontoon. Picture: Queenborough Harbour
The new solar loos are craned into position on Queenborough Harbour's pontoon. Picture: Queenborough Harbour

Visiting sailors cut short can now spend a penny knowing they are helping to protect the planet.

The toilets, which will shortly be fitted with solar panels, are part of a £15,000 make-over to keep the harbour shipshape.

Volunteer directors at the not-for-profit Queenborough Harbour Trust were able to go ahead with the order thanks to a grant from Swale council to cover half the cost.

The lavatories were craned into position by a team from Sheppey-based Whitstable Marine Services led by Lee Dixon.

Trust chairman Des Cross said: "This is just one of the many innovations we are adding as we move towards zero emissions. The toilets will eventually be solar powered. We are hoping to install solar panels on other buildings to make our operations more sustainable. We may also add a couple of little whirlygig wind turbines."

Rachel Collier with one of the six new electricity hook-ups for visiting boats at Queenborough Harbour
Rachel Collier with one of the six new electricity hook-ups for visiting boats at Queenborough Harbour

The pontoon currently gets its power from Crundall's Wharf. The trust has recently upgraded its 200m supply cable and installed three electricity hook-ups for visiting boats. Another three have been installed on harbour quay in South Street.

Mr Cross said: "The new cable was desperately needed. Previously, we couldn't operate the printer in the office if we had the kettle on!"

Its 'trot' boats, used to ferry sailors to and from moorings, now run on vegetable oil instead of diesel. The fuel is produced from waste vegetable and chip-fryer fat.

The RNLI has also donated a set of 12 lockers so sailors can stash their life-vests without having to wear them into town.

The trust has now set its sights on installing a shower block on the pontoon so visitors can freshen up after a long voyage.

Deputy chairman Rachel Collier and harbour manager David Lavender with the 12 lockers donated by the RNLI where sailors can stow their life-vests before walking into Queenborough
Deputy chairman Rachel Collier and harbour manager David Lavender with the 12 lockers donated by the RNLI where sailors can stow their life-vests before walking into Queenborough

Mr Cross, who is stepping down in January to hand over the reins to deputy chairman Rachel Collier, added: "I'd like thank Cllr Monique Bonney and the team at Swale council for supporting our ongoing work to improve harbour facilities."

The trust, which operates 200 moorings, won the Swale council business award in 2019 for "impact in the community". New harbour manager David Lavender joined in January.

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