Press release

Sutton Harbour lock gates to undergo £250,000 upgrade

The lock gates at Sutton Harbour in Plymouth are being upgraded as part of a £250,000 investment by the Environment Agency in maintaining the Barbican flood defences and ensuring a reliable working system for the future.


The repairs will begin during a first phase of work from Monday 2 March until Saturday 7 March, when the harbour will only be able to be accessed during the published free flow periods, and there will be no locking operations. The pedestrian footbridge is not expected to be affected during this period.

The second phase of work will result in a short-term closure of the lock gates between 7am and 7pm from Monday 9 March until Saturday 14 March, and boats will be asked to enter or leave the harbour outside of this period.

The pedestrian swing bridge over the lock gates will close temporarily between 7am and 7pm on Tuesday, March 10 and Wednesday, March 11 as a result of the crane operations necessary.

The package of upgrade works is being funded by the Environment Agency, which has joint maintenance responsibility for the bridge and lock gates with harbour owner and operator Sutton Harbour Holdings plc.

The £250,000 investment aims to ensure Plymouth’s harbour flood defence system remains manageable in the future, as well as securing safe, reliable lock operations at the busy harbour for years to come.

Dave Turner for the Environment Agency said:

Considerable works are being carried out at Sutton Harbour lock but it will not be hugely disruptive to people using the harbour as the repairs have been carefully planned.

The Environment Agency is investing money in replacing obsolete equipment operating the lock gates to prevent any future deterioration, and to ensure the system remains fit for purpose, operating efficiently as well as and needing less regular maintenance in the future.

Preparatory work starts in Sutton Harbour from Monday 2 March and the main work barge from which the repairs will be made is expected to arrive on Monday 9 March, with core works beginning on March 10.

Pete Bromley, Harbour Master of Sutton Harbour, said:

The barge will be positioned in the lock barrel to enable the replacement hydraulic cylinders to be lifted into place as the main upgrades to the lock gates are carried out. We have scheduled the second phase of the work to be carried out during free flow from 7am to 7pm daily between March 9 and March 14 to minimise disruption to anyone using the harbour, and ensure the repairs are completed quickly. All forms of vessels will be informed that they should enter or leave the harbour either side of these times.

Some noise is expected during the day owing to the nature of the work but Sutton Harbour Holdings plc and the Environment Agency have worked closely together to ensure this essential programme of works is carried out as efficiently as possible, and completed quickly with minimal disruption.

For full updates throughout March, please visit, or follow @ExperienceSH on Twitter.


Published 26 January 2015