Thursday, 8 November 2007

The WAG report on dredging the gower.

For the WAG inspectors report click here. For the WAG letter to Llanelli dredging click here. Dredging and Survey areas click here.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

The people of South Wales need to fight for their beaches. Please write to the powers that be using the arguments in the comments on this post.

Please write to Ms Davidson -WAG, Rhodri Morgan, Edwina Hart and HRH The Prince Of Wales - Crown Estates.

Use the arguments outlined in the comments of this Post - they have been submitted by the Gower Society and Gower SOS. Also add your comments here. . . .

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

The Gower SOS story so far by Richard Youle, Evening Post

Sand has been disappearing from Gower's beaches and many people suspect they know why. South Wales Evening Post Environment reporter RICHARD YOULE takes an in-depth three-part look at the row over dredging. Here's his report in the comments link below.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

WAG decision - Dredge as usual - Politics first - Environment 2nd

Thanks to the WAG - more Gower beaches are now targeted to be destroyed - like Porthcawl and Port Eynon. Please write to Rhodri Morgan and Jane Davidson ( so called Environment Minister ) There will be an organised protest very soon.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Gower Beaches - Stop the dredging.

As we wait for the Welsh Assembly decision on continuing and possibly increasing aggregate dredging of the Helwick sand bank, evidence is still flooding in on the damage already caused. Left is a picture of Caswell Bay from the East side. The family are helping their child across dangerous rocks, this was thick sand 20 years ago. I know as I used to run across sand between the two big rocks in the foreground onto more sand.

All these pictures are the tip of a huge issue developing on Gower and other beaches.

Claire is highly concerned about Horton and Port Eynon with extremely good reason. The picture of Horton Left has been used on the right hand sand of this web blog to help illustrate the devastation that has been caused by dredging the Helwick and other inshore sand banks over the past years. Check out Claire's other shots from April 2007 here.

We must urge the WAG to take immediate action to halt inshore dredging. The evidence is piling in from witnesses of the mass destruction of one of Wales last natural resources.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Gower Coast Adventures join Gower SOS

Loss of sand affects local Tourist Attraction.
This will have a direct impact on this respected and popular attraction and affect other businesses related to tourism.
Swansea and Gower rely heavily on visitors to boost the local economy.
The dredging of sand from the Helwick sandbank must have had an influence on the erosion of sand from Port Eynon beach. In the light of this recent evidence the Welsh Assembly Government must reconsider any decision to grant further dredging so close to Gower's precious and beautiful coastline. CLICK COMMENT BELOW FOR MORE

Monday, 30 April 2007

Gower Kite Riders GKR join Gower SOS

As sole representatives of the new and exciting sport of kitesurfing in the Gower area, GowerkiteRiders (GKR) feel we have a moral and ethical obligation to support the SOS foundation, helping to preserve this unique Gower coastline environment for our business livelihoods but more importantly for future generations of people to enjoy. CLICK COMMENT BELOW FOR MORE

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

WAG Decision could be Dredge as usual.

We are waiting for the Welsh Assembly to decide on the critical future of dredging in the Bristol Channel. The decision will come after their local elections in May. A recent letter from them reads as though business as usual will be declared on dredging aggregates. Follow the comments to read the letters.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

"Caution on dredging" call from the National Trust

From a recent South Wales Evening Post Article
The National Trust is calling for caution over the issue of further dredging off the Gower coast.
The Assembly will soon announce its decision on whether further dredging should be permitted.
Ruth Williams, National Trust Wales policy manager, called on the assembly not to let the dredging go ahead.
She said "We urge the Assembly to exercise caution here and look after the beautiful Gower coast, not only for the million or more people who visit Gower every year and the businesses that depend on them, but also for the sake of the outstanding landscape, wildlife and archaeology of the area."
"The Assembly should have faith in its stated policy to move dredging offshore into the deeper waters of the Bristol Channel."
"The National Trust looks after 26 miles of the coastline of Gower and we want to ensure it can be enjoyed by future generations." She added.

Anyone know what these are on Oxwich Beach?

Photographed yesterday 07/03/2007 at Spring tide low water. These look like supports for a pier or platform maybe used for the historical unloading of coal at Oxwich. Do you know anyone with knowledge as to their purpose? Also photographed are possible random tree stumps and increases in exposed rock areas. Link to larger image.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Is this Gower's 1st Dredging related Ecological Disaster ???

After many first sightings of huge numbers of Sand Gapers (Clam type) spread across the beach over the last few weeks, it must be time for the Welsh Assembly to investigate the link between this disaster and dredging of our sand banks.
More Pictures More Pictures More Pictures More Pictures More Pictures
Hi Simon
That is 1,000 times worse than I saw or imagined - looks like the Razor's had a bashing as well. Walked Caswell to Mumbles yesterday - Caswell, Langland, Bracelet all lost considerable sand this winter. When I get back on 5th - am going to do some photo work on my old Cove East Caswell. I estimate sand is 3 metres lower than 25 year ago - beach / sand areas are diminished massively. - Disgusted. If this dredging decision goes for more dredging - will be seriously thinking of emigrating my life and business. Even Royal Westminster Boskalis the Helwick dredging company cannot justify continuing even if WAG and Crown Estates want them too.
Peter Letheren

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Battle For Beaches - Says Assembly Member

Alun Cairns - Assembly Member - South Wales West. Its our battle as well as his, fighting the Welsh Assembly and Global dredgers needs all the backup anyone can muster.
The South Wales Evening Post quoted Mr Cairns comments on the National Trust - Shifting Shores report.
"This is yet more evidence of the damage we are doing to our precious coastline - Sea level rises and reckless dredging are putting our finest assets at risk - this Assembly Government has singularly failed to tackle the issues raised by coastline erosion - this report shows how indefensible their position is - we cannot afford to give up on our beaches, cliffs and coastal communities."


Evening Post Article on National Trust Press Release

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Gower Needs Your Help - GSD Join the debate - Extract from GSD Blog - thank you guys

Action is required by all those that love our gower coastline. Please read attached PDF file from the guys at Euphoria sailing and visit the following blog to see how you can help and put pressure on the LIARS LIARS LIARS there you go it has set me off again. Sorry, guys I just find the word politician a particulary fithly, dirty and odious word.

Help save our coastline and even if you do not live on Gower it may be yours next....

BBC News - Action call on disappearing coast

Wales has been urged to take "urgent action" to prepare for the impact of coastal erosion and flooding by the National Trust - Is global warming causing the sand loss and damage? We have taken 100,000,000 Tons of sand away from our natural coastal defences (sand banks) through dredging sand for building aggregate. Surely now is the time to see reason. If global warming is going to increase coastal erosion - why are we still considering dredging away our coastal defences? We are removing our very own natural foundations and defences to concrete over our gardens. Global warming - rising sea levels and increased frequency and strength of storms.
Peter Letheren

National Trust Web Site press releases or if not yet published E-mail them or us for a copy.

Inquiry to settle dredging debate

A long-running row over whether sand dredging should continue off Gower will be settled by a public inquiry. Result to be announced this year 2007.

The Economist Feb

Even sand is a matter of national secu- rity. On February 6th, an Indonesian ban on sand exports came into force, following a similar move by Malaysia some years ago. Singapore buys the sand to reclaim land from the sea and increase its puny ter- rain. Indonesia's official reason for the ban was to stop the environmental damage caused by sand mining. The Indonesian navy has now sent no fewer than eight warships to its maritime border with Singapore to intercept suspected sand-smugglers.

The Malaysians, are blaming their recent floods on Singapore's land reclamation.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Wickstock: Sand Aid

Hi. Recently Euphoria got in touch regarding this matter and I have started to organise a charity event for August of this year to raise pulic awareness of this issue. 'Wickstock: Sand Aid' will be a multimedia event comprising of local musicians all dedicated to this cause and I already have many bands interested in playing. 'The GlamOrgans' and friends will be headlining and live music will be playing throughout the day. Keep an eye on the blog for more detials coming soon! Incidentally, I contacted Rhodri Morgan via the WAG website and as yet, no reply...hmmm... I'm looking for more factual evidence at the moment to back up what we can all see is happening so anyone who can help or is interested, please get in touch. Regards, Chris Evans (

Dredging should be stopped

I have lived in Gower all my life (over 60 years) and I have never seen the sand levels so low. Port Eynon being a case in point. Over the years particularly after storms, the sand levels have changed. Since dredging began the sand levels have dropped and the sand just doesn't come back. There are rocks exposed now that I have never seen exposed before. I really think that dredging should be stopped for a period of time to see if the sand comes back. It will soon be too late and we will have lost our wonderful golden sands for ever.
Elizabeth Jenkins

Friday, 9 February 2007

Royal Boskalis Westminster nv

Dear Sir or Madam,

Regarding the disappearance of Gower beaches: in effect what is happening is the complete destruction of a unique ecosystem based on Ice Age glacial deposits. As well as offshore considerations (e.g., Helwick is SAC-listed), the licensing authority should be aware that dredging is irreparably damaging Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty– maintaining a sustainable ecology is paramount.

Llanelli Sand Dredging 1938 was bought up by Westminster Dredging, then bought by Royal Boskalis Westminster nv which is a Netherlands based international group with a leading position in the world market for dredging. Each time a smaller company was subsumed by a larger one and now dredging in Swansea Bay has changed from a local industry to a national one to an international one, in effect leaving the area unprotected from globalised industrialism.

Since February 2006 the rebased closing price for Royal Boskalis Westminster Group is up 25% compared with all other shares at 10%. Many shareholders of the Dutch parent company are unaware (or do not want to be aware) of the consequences of their investment. I think we should take direct action and use the media to inform them of what they may be doing to our heritage. It is ironic that Westminster have won awards for creating beaches – what penalty then for their destruction?

Despite receipts to the Treasury of £191 million net revenue, the Welsh Assembly could be asked to justify that the profit to the Exchequer (through Crown Estates) is consistent with the cost to the environment, culture, local economy and ecology… and the wishes of the People.

Thank you.

Twm Shanti

Thursday, 8 February 2007

It seems we've learned nothing from mistakes made in the past.

"On a recent visit to South Devon I was reminded in a most dramatic way of the need to stop dredging sand off Gower's coast before it's too late.
I visited the 'lost village' of Hallsands on the south coast of Devon, once a small but thriving fishing community with around 40 houses, a pub and a grocer. The Hallsands story bears testimony to the way in which meddling with natural processes can have very severe consequences for man. At the beginning of the last century, the villagers of Hallsands began noticing that the sand and shingle beach below their houses was disappearing. This was very serious - the village stood close to sea level and relied on this protective barrier of sand to shield it from the full force of the sea. It was discovered that, at about the time when their sands had first started to disappear, the Board of Trade had given permission to a dredging company to remove thousands of tons of shingle from sandbars just off the coast.
It seemed like a simple case of cause and effect, but the dredging company and the authorities refuted this and claimed that the dredging was not linked to the coastal sand loss. Sound familiar...?
In January 1917, with the beach level very low and stripped of much of its sand, a storm struck and most of the village was literally washed into the sea overnight. The village was abandoned, the sand never returned and all that is left today is the ruined remains of a handful of houses at the foot of a rocky cliff. You can read more about the Hallsands story on the BBC website: Link click here.

It seems we've learned nothing from mistakes made in the past. Despite clear evidence of extraordinary sand loss around Gower, those with a vested financial interest in continuing to dredge tell us that there's no link between dredging and coastal sand erosion. If this continues, it seems that Gower is doomed to lose beaches, habitats and tourists in the same way that the people of Hallsands lost their village."
Dominic Parkes
Keep Gower Green

Tuesday, 6 February 2007


I Visited Pobbles yesterday 4/02/07 and was gobsmacked at the state of the beach (Or lack of it)
This has to stop Now.
Without Tourism, Swansea will fail to survive as a City
Without sand we will lose our tourism.
Without action we will lose our area of Oustanding Beauty.
Enough Said...
Richard Jones, Eaton Crescent, Swansea

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Gower SOS Blog: Comment here - protest.

I can remember visiting Oxwich Beach in the Summer of 2006 and struck up a conversation with some holiday makers who had not been back to Gower for 10 years. They were amazed at how the beach landscape had changed. They said to me "Where has all the sand gone, this beach used to be covered in golden sand and now it is very pebbly and covered with stones?". Living locally and visiting the beach on an almost daily basis in the Summer I was stunned by their reaction and also concerned at how dramatic the change had been. Having read the comments on the Gower SOS site I felt compelled to write. Gower is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and that means all of it. We work to preserve the landscape, housing developments are strictly controlled, holiday lets are restricted and yet what controls are in place to protect our beaches? If we lose the beaches will we lose our ANOB status or do the beaches not count, will the dredging companies come and put the sand back?
More rigorous controls need to be implemented and robust research as to the impact of dredging on our beaches. Stop it before it is too late!
Jane Letheren

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Cessation of dredging

The continued granting of licenses to extract sand from our coastline is a grossly immoral act. Our beautiful beaches are a pleasure for everyone. The effects of this dredging is now apparent to anyone who has been a regular visitor to Gower Beaches over the last couple of decades. It's not just the more remote bays which are showing the signs, it's also evident in the more accessible and therefore more popular beaches like Oxwich and Port Eynon.
The WAG's excuse is that there is no proven link between 50 years of dredging and beach errosion... how about a cessation of dredging for at least 20 years to observe the possible results?
Nigel Roberts

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

How to protest

Please just post your e-mail on this Blog and/or Euphoria Sailing and Mumbles Matters blogs. The internet is a powerful means of fighting this. Tell everyone. Please visit the Gower SOS Website to find other methods of protest. Basically writing to an MP or minister is possibly the most effective method. Please spend some time on the Gower SOS site and your individual protest. We need help upping the protest.

Gower SOS, Business, Tourism, Fishing and those who care.

Euphoria Sailing Ltd. & Watersports 4 All – representing tourism operators and Gower SOS Save our sands on this issue.

I swam at various Gower beaches nearly every day as a child, 20+ years ago with sand eel shoals everywhere.

When I walk to the same beaches over the last few years the sand has gone and huge rocks have been revealed.

I spend nearly every day in or on the water at Oxwich Bay, the sand eels have gone, the cockle beds are thin – less sand and less cockles. Last Sunday Clams were strewn across the beach torn from their unsheltered beds, which should be 18 inches deep. On Monday Pobbles was a lunar landscape with a 1-metre decrease in sand. I’ve never seen this before. As a sailing and powerboat instructor I understand the seasonal weather changes and tidal flows more than most, I cannot teach sailing and launch boats on rocky beaches – it’s dangerous.

Something is taking our beaches, I’ve taken some sand, natural phenomena have taken some, and the open cast sand dredgers have taken 100M T. If we stop dredging today sand will still relocate from beaches to backfill the sand banks, which protect our beaches, possibly for years to come. Think of the egg timer and use this as an analogy to imagine future sand erosion.

I understand the implications to the dredging jobs, construction industry and bank rolls. We need to dredge our shipping channels but exporting our sand for huge profits not returned to the local economy is a finite rape of our most beautiful natural resource. In parts of Europe sand dredging is banned up to 25K offshore so they import it from Wales. Tourism employs 30K people in this area, fishing is huge and its on the up – we will ruin this forever – this is sand formed in the last ice age which our children and visitors will never enjoy at its best. With storm surges and global warming a reality our sand banks will have to work harder to reduce the Atlantic swells and storms forecast to protect our coastline, the banks will use what is left on the beach to protect the bays.

We have to provide evidence to halt this, the dredging companies use expensive lasers, sonar’s and employees to produce their biased arguments. Dredging owners have also owned tobacco companies, they are well used to pulling the wool over our eyes.

We can produce masses of scientists and public anecdotal evidence to prove the opposite. Why should we fight to protect our beaches – the dredgers should be fighting us to take them. The Welsh Assembly needs to action this today, the environmental issue is in the limelight more and more and the politicians discuss it more and more. We need definite action today. Please put pen to paper to Rhodri Morgan, please internet surf the Gower SOS website and blog, visit the Euphoria Sailing and Mumbles Matters blogs on this issue, just leave an electronic protest, it’s a permanent record of your support. Spend time gaining an opinion and then time acting on it. Sand costs only £30 a ton delivered locally, without tourism property prices will drop, the sand will run out, what will construction do then. It’s economically viable to get sand elsewhere, it’s happened with coal and now natural Gas.

What would we say if we drove to work each day, passing Aberavon Beach, Swansea Bay or Port Eynon watching the sand being dug off the beach with huge tractors. It’s happening covertly with huge ships sucking the life and livelihood from our South Wales coast.