Safety works completed at Skomer Island

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has recently overseen the completion of rock stabilisation work at Skomer Island following health and safety concerns.  

A portion of the cliff area above the goods delivery ramp failed in 2021. The unstable material posed a risk to island staff when receiving deliveries and prevented use of the island boat.

While the island is leased to the Wildlife Trust South and West Wales (WTSWW), NRW as landlords are responsible for certain structural work that needs to be carried out on the island.

A specialist contractor was brought in to complete the rock stabilisation work which included rock bolts and netting.

Skomer island is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and home to a number of rare birds including the Manx Shearwater. This meant the work had to be completed under strict SSSI assent conditions and before the start of the bird nesting season.

To ensure the work was carried out in time, WTSWW provided accommodation for the contractor on the island. This also removed the need for daily trips via boat and the potential delays due to bad weather.

Huwel Manley, operations manager for NRW, said:

“Ensuring Wales’ natural environments are safe for people and the ecosystems they support is a cornerstone of our work. 
“Despite some delays because of recent storms, the stabilisation work has finished before birds returned to their burrows for the breeding season and the main goods delivery access is once again safe for staff and visitors landing from private vessels”.  
“We’d like to say a big thank you to WTSWW and Colin Jones Rock Engineering Ltd for their help in getting the job done and look forward to another busy summer at Skomer this year where visitors to island play a critical role in supporting the local economy”.

Lisa Morgan, Head of Islands and Marine for WTSWW added:

“The North Haven beach landing on Skomer is essential for safe and efficient day to day operations. It allows the island dumper truck to meet boats bringing large or heavy deliveries, everything from building materials and gas bottles to shopping for the resident staff and researchers. Without a safe slipway, we would have been unable to launch the island boat putting the completion of our long-term seabird monitoring projects at risk.
Working on the island is never easy with logistical challenges posed by the remote location and the weather conditions. We are extremely grateful to NRW for financing and project managing this complicated project under strict conditions and tight timeframes.”

The works on the cliff side were completed at the end of March and cost around £74,000.