I have today received a reply to the letter which I sent to Jane Davidson at theWelsh Assembly on the subject of the dredging of the Helwick Bank. Here is the reply:
“Government View, Application by Llanelli Sand Dredging Ltd for a licence to extract marine aggregates, Area 373, Helwick Bank
Thank you for your email of 4 August 2007 to Jane Davidson, Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, setting out your concern about the Government View of proposed dredging at Helwick Bank. I have been asked to reply on her behalf.
The application, by Llanelli Sand Dredging Ltd, sought approval to dredge 300,000 tonnes of sand each year for the next 15 years. The report of an Inspector who held a public inquiry into the application recommended that the company should be allowed to dredge 150,000 tonnes a year for 10 years. The Government View, which issued on 1 August, would allow 150,000 tonnes to be dredged for 7 years.
The Government View was given only after thorough and careful consideration of issues discussed in the Inspector’s Report, including the possible effects of dredging on Gower beaches, the Bank itself, sites of environmental importance, tourism and other activities. Having considered evidence put forward by parties at the inquiry, the Inspector concluded that there was no relationship between beach sand levels and dredging that has taken place since 1993. With regard to Port Eynon, the Inspector concluded that there was no evidence to connect sand loss with dredging, rather it appeared to be linked to dune reclamation work there.
The favourable View was based on an assessment of the wide range of issues considered at the inquiry. It is subject to stringent conditions to protect the environment, including the preparation of a baseline survey before dredging commences. The company is required to carry out regular surveys of the seabed, particularly the Bank, and Gower beaches, and if dredging is suspected of causing damage it can be suspended if needs be.
So DOES anybody else think that the dredging….. “Is suspected of causing damage”? …. ???