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.