To: John Tuckett, CEO Marine Management Organisation
Goodwin Sands SOS - Stop the Dredge!
To reject the licence application by Dover Harbour Board to dredge marine aggregate (sand and gravel) from the Goodwin Sands for their Dover Western Docks Regeneration project
Why is this important?
The Goodwin Sands are a string of sandbanks some 25 square nautical miles in size lying 5 miles off the Kent coast in the English Channel. They are a unique marine environment with a heritage to match.
But this precious habitat is under threat and time is not on our side!
Dover Harbour Board want to extract the marine aggregate from the Goodwins (as they are known locally) because it is cheaper. The purchase price from the Crown Estate who own the seabed is less than from commercial sites, but they are further away. DHB cite the carbon footprint as a reason to take the aggregate from the Goodwins but in reality this is a smoke screen which can be mitigated in other ways.
DHB have now applied for their licence from the Marine Management Organisation. The first public consultation period ended in July but the Environmental Impact Assessment raised so many questions that a second one is now in place. This will run until 16th November 2016. A decision whether or not to grant the licence will be made any time after this, depending on the reactions received.
Save our Sealife
The Goodwins are home to a colony of 350 grey seals and the resting place of some 2,000 shipwrecks. Many of the ships were lost with all hands. They are also the spawning and nursery grounds of a variety of local fish and shellfish. The Thornback Ray which is listed as 'near threatened' under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 has frequently been sighted there.
The colony of grey seals use areas adjacent to the proposed dredging zone as their 'haul out' sites i.e. where they rest on land at low tide. The noise and vibration from the huge dredgers will disturb them in their natural habitat; there is also the possibility of them being injured by collision with the dredgers and propellors as they are naturally inquisitive creatures.
The sands provide shelter to ships in bad weather (in an anchorage known as The Downs) and to the Kent coastline by absorbing the waves' energy as they pound in from the North Sea. At low tide a large proportion of the sands are exposed and waves can be seen crashing onto them from the shore.
Save our Shore
The coastline between Dover and Deal is susceptible to erosion and beach recharging works are a semi permanent feature of life there. Coastal flooding along the East Kent coast is a continual problem and one which would be exacerbated by dredging the Goodwin Sands due to lowering the level and changing the topography (shape) of the sea bed. The sandbanks absorb the energy from the huge rolling waves coming in from the North Sea which would otherwise be crashing straight onto the Kent coast with destructive results.
Save our Shipwrecks
The wreck of the Admiral Gardner lies within the proposed dredging zone. She was an East Indiaman, built in 1797, which was stranded on the sands during a gale in 1809. Although there is a 300m exclusion zone around her, the impact and vibration caused by nearby dredging could still disturb or damage her.
Four other ships, Northumberland, Restoration, Mary and Stirling Castle which were all wrecked on the night of the Great Storm, 19th November 1703, with the loss of 1201 lives, lie on the seabed adjacent to the proposed dredging zone.
The history of Deal boatmen and the Sands are inexorably linked, giving rise to multiple tales of tragedy, lost lives and heroism. These stories of bravery are reflected in legendary characters such as Will Adams of the North Deal lifeboat, the sea going Chaplain Reverend Stanley Treanor and the sea surgeon James Hall.
A German submarine which sank off Dover after being mined in 1939 has still not been discovered. It is protected under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 and may well lie in or near the proposed dredging zone.
There are 11 more Dornier 17 German bombers and their air crew lying buried somewhere on the Goodwins, identical to the one which was found by a local diver in 2008 and recovered with international press coverage a couple of years ago. In addition, there is also a Junkers 88 and an unknown number of our own British planes and pilots who crashed into the Channel in this area during the Battle of Britain.
Please help save the Goodwin Sands and their neighbouring environment from the destruction of dredging by signing this petition today and also by writing to the Marine Management Organisation with your concerns.
Letters can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org quoting the reference
How it will be delivered
We will either email the signatures or deliver them in person.