The campaign has had a fantastic week! The petition has been gathering momentum daily and by the time we delivered it to Number 10 Downing Street the total number of signatures stood at over 12,000. It was a very surreal moment standing on that iconic doorstep and I was immensely proud of all that the campaign and our supporters have achieved together.
Media coverage from BBC South East Today, ITV Meridian and BBC Radio Kent have all contributed in spreading the word far and wide. Let’s keep on getting it out there!
It is now vitally important that as many people as possible write with their concerns and objections to the MMO before November 16th. It doesn’t have to be long, or scientific; just write from the heart about why you personally don’t want the Goodwin Sands to be dredged.
Look at the details on our site for how to respond.
Listen and watch out for us in the news on Monday (31st October 2016) from 6:30am! BBC Radio Kent and BBC South East Today are both covering us delivering the campaign petition to Downing Street, which has now reached a massive 11,840 signatures – with an increase of 933 in the past 48 hours!!
And don’t forget to write your second letter of objection before November 16th 2016. It can be as brief as you like, but just write it as every email or letter counts!
Dear Supporters, as a result of the high level of public opposition we have generated through the SOS Campaign, the MMO opened a second pubic consultation phase which ends on the 16th November. This consultation phase is an opportunity for everyone to write/email again to the MMO to express their objection to DHB’s inadequate responses to the questions raised during the first public consultation phase.
We have plans for a final push on the Campaign as the deadline approaches and need to raise some funding to pay for the materials we need to create a high profile impact. Can you please help us by donating a pound or five to help us win this Battle of the Sands and STOP THE DREDGE? We are hoping to raise £200. The precise nature of our plans has to remain confidential at this point, but all will become clear in the near future.
Please pledge a small donation and bring it to the Astor Theatre where James has kindly agreed to collect and hold the funds for us.
Many thanks again for your support and don’t forget to send your second objection email to the Marine Management Organisation on email@example.com before Weds 16th Nov. Please quote reference: MLA/2016/00227
The Guardian, 19th January 2016
Plan to extract sand and gravel to further develop Dover port will endanger marine life, say conservationists
A stretch of sandbars and shoals off the Kent coast home to seals, famous for shipwrecks and proposed as a marine conservation zone is at risk from dredging, conservationists warn.
Dover Harbour Board is considering dredging for sand and gravel from Goodwin Sands, which lies around six miles out from Deal, to expand cargo facilities and build a marina at Dover port.
But groups including the Kent Wildlife Trust, Marine Conservation Society and British Divers Marine Life Rescue have all expressed their concern at the extraction, which could start as soon as August.
Although the area has been dredged before for Dover port and Ramsgate up the coast, the amount of sand and gravel would be more than a third of the total amount extracted previously, between 1976 and 1998.
Goodwin Sands has also been under consideration for the last five years as a marine conservation zone (MCZ), which nearly doubled in number in England over the weekend.
An important site for grey and common seals to “haul out” on the sand to mate and rest, it provides foraging grounds for birds and the seabed is home to blue mussels and ross worm reefs. The worm is associated with a greater variety of marine life.
If the shifting sands of the area are confirmed as an MCZ next year, as conservationists hope, any dredging would need to undertake additional assessments to those needed without the protection.
Stephen Marsh, operations manager at the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, which rescues seal pups up and down the Kent coast, said he was concerned at the prospect of dredging at Goodwin Sands.
“Common seals give birth to their pups out on the sandbanks; there are animals being born in July and possibly August. August is peak moulting time. The adults need to come out of the water then and spend as much time on the sand as possible. If they dredge at that time, that’s of concern.”
Bryony Chapman, marine policy officer at the Kent Wildlife Trust, said although the area had been dredged before, the amount being proposed now was a large volume.
“It’s still recovering from that previous dredging and we wouldn’t want it taken right back again. It’s an important site for seals. There are hundreds of seals that haul out there – it’s a significant number of animals.”
She added that the trust had met with the port and hoped they would seriously consider alternatives.
Dr Jean-Luc Solandt of the Marine Conservation Society said he was concerned at the impact dredging could have on species, and potential harm to the substrate they live on.
But the port argues the area has been dredged before and would be capable of recovering.
“Goodwin Sands is a dynamic, highly mobile system and therefore the marine communities impacted by dredging at this location would be expected to recover well following disturbance,” says a report on the proposed scope of an environmental impact assessment of the dredging, commissioned by the port.
Conservationists said they were not opposed to the expansion of the port but the sand and gravel should be obtained from a less sensitive site.
For its part, the port argues taking the material from Goodwin Sands is a good local option and obtaining materials from further afield would result in higher CO2 emissions and NOx pollution, as well as road congestion.
A spokesman for the port said: “The Port of Dover is currently considering options, including Goodwin Sands, for sourcing aggregate for the approved Dover Western Docks Revival development, which includes a cargo and distribution centre, transformed waterfront, job opportunities for local people and greater space within the Eastern Docks for ferry traffic.
“We are actively engaging with a wide range of conservation organisations and authorities prior to any decision being made. Goodwin Sands has been identified as a good source of aggregate by the Crown Estate. We are in the process of undertaking a thorough environmental impact assessment and have been consulting with consultees to ensure their concerns are fully taken into account.”
The proposed dredging would take place over an 11.6 sq km area on the south part of the sands, in two phases, the first starting in August this year and ending in November 2017, and the second from March 2022 to August 2022.
Goodwin Sands is a notoriously dangerous stretch of coastal waters, with thousands of shipwrecks thought to lie there. In the great storm of 1703, 90 vessels were believed to have sunk, including a notable warship, the Stirling Castle.
16 October 2016
Dear Goodwin Sands SOS Supporter
Progress but no victory yet!
You may have read the recent Mail Online article that gave the false impression that the campaign to stop dredging of the Goodwin Sands has succeeded. This email is to clarify that, though we have made progress in recent months, the battle has not yet been won.
Where do we stand now?
Thanks to this campaign, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has asked Dover Harbour Board (DHB) to provide detailed information regarding the locations of all military air crash sites in the dredging zone, plus the fate of the crews. This involves excavating six potential crash sites identified in the dredging zone, plus a further eight on the boundary. This would be an expensive and complex operation for DHB, so they appear to be ignoring the MOD’s request.
Thanks to this campaign, a range of serious concerns were raised by national conservation and heritage groups. As a result of a request for further information from the government’s Marine Management Organisation (MMO), DHB has responded to these concerns. We consider their response insufficient, verging on cavalier. There is now a further public consultation period until November 16th to consider DHB’s responses. They can be read here.
What is the next step for our campaign?
On expert advice from Marinet www.marinet.org.uk this campaign is now focussing on protecting the war graves located in the sands, as well as environmental and wildlife concerns. Below, we have condensed essential information relating to the new consultation period and DHB’s latest position. Please use this to inform your further emails/letters of objection to the MMO.
It is vital that we write again to the MMO. We must now strongly object to the dredging proposal in light of:
- DHB’s unsound response to the MMO’s serious concerns
- DHB’s disregard for the MOD’s war grave excavation request
When emailing the MMO, you MUST quote the reference number as before:
What next for the petition?
As well as writing to the MMO, we must keep sharing and signing the petition. We now have 10,800 signatures. Can we get this to 15,000? We believe we can.
Our MP, the Rt Hon Charlie Elphicke is arranging for us to present the petition ourselves to Number 10, Downing Street. This is an incredible publicity opportunity and makes an impressive signature count all the more important!
If you live nearby, we are holding a Campaign Update Meeting on Saturday 22nd Oct at 4pm in Deal. Here is a link to the meeting on Facebook. Please do join us if you can.
Finally, thank you so much for your ongoing support and encouragement – together we can STOP THE DREDGE of the Goodwin Sands!
Joanna Thompson (on behalf of the Save our Sands Campaign)
Saturday, 22 October, 4-6pm: there is an URGENT update meeting for the Goodwin Sands SOS campaign.
We are now in a second period of public consultation, ending 16 November. At our meeting on Saturday, we will decide how to best use this time and ways you can be DIRECTLY INVOLVED.
Despite the Mail on Sunday’s article, we have NOT won yet. We are still fighting to stop profit-driven Dover Harbour Board disregarding our heritage, marine life, coastline and war graves.
Daily Mail, 28th September 2016
For 76 years it has been the resting place of scores of RAF heroes who gave their lives defending the nation in the Battle of Britain.
Now their remains face destruction – as giant dredgers prepare to move on to the Channel sandbank where they crashed to dig out cheap building material.
More than 10,000 people have signed a petition to stop the Dover Harbour Board dredging Goodwin Sands for gravel to expand cargo facilities and build a marina at Dover port.
Actor Mark Rylance, star of hit film Big Friendly Giant and Wolf Hall, is among those behind the SOS (Save Our Sands) campaign.
Last night he urged developers to ‘respect the graves’ and asked: ‘Would they dredge an ancient graveyard or battlefield
Rylance is joined by Miriam Margolyes, whose home on top of the white cliffs of Dover overlooks the Goodwins.
The Harry Potter actress said: ‘Battle of Britain planes and pilots could be disturbed and war graves desecrated. I am profoundly disgusted at this plan.’
The Goodwin Sands is a notorious ten-mile stretch of shifting sandbanks off the Kent coast, near Deal. During the bitter aerial combat of 1940, at least 60 British and German aircraft plummeted into the sandbank from the skies.
The Goodwins has also seen more than 2,000 shipwrecks – in the Great Storm of 1703, on one night alone 1,200 men were lost on its banks.
SOS campaigners warn that the plan to remove 2.5 million cubic metres of sand and gravel will not only disturb the wrecks but will cause coastal erosion, endanger delicate ecosystems and wildlife, including a large seal colony.
But it is the threat to the graves of RAF pilots that has caused most anger. David Brocklehurst MBE, curator of the Kent Battle of Britain Museum at Hawkinge, spent two months searching war records to identify the locations of aircraft that came down over the Goodwins.
He said: ‘I can tell you with my hand on my heart that there are missing airmen out on the Goodwins. We must commemorate and protect the last resting place of our heroes.’
His list of 60 lost planes and their crews includes Spitfires and Hurricanes, as well as German Messerschmitts, Dornier Do 17s and Junkers Ju 88s, all shot down and never recovered between May 29 and November 14, 1940.
SOS director Laura Evers Johns said yesterday: ‘The Goodwins contain a staggering number of wrecks and the graves of many thousands of servicemen, mariners and fishermen. The plan to dredge them is immoral and unscrupulous and would result in the desecration of countless graves. It’s displaying a total disregard for the law and lack of respect for the servicemen who gave their lives for this country.’
The petition will be presented in Parliament by Dover MP Charlie Elphicke, who says: ‘It is critical to ensure that no war graves are disturbed and that no ecology is damaged.’
The body deciding the fate of the Goodwins graveyard is the Marine Management Organisation, which has until October 13 to make up its mind whether to grant a dredging licence. SOS is hoping that the Ministry of Defence’s department responsible for human remains, the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre, will back its campaign.
The Goodwin Sands is owned by the Crown Estates, which in 2013 produced an environmental report which stated: ‘Military air crash sites are automatically subject to legal protection through the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.’
It added: ‘No [dredging] licence will be allowed if there are human remains present, the intention being that such remains be left in peace where they lie.’
Dover Harbour Board denies its plans could cause problems, saying that no known military wrecks or aircraft crash sites are within the proposed dredge area.
Port of Dover spokesman Chris Talbot said: ‘Experts have surveyed the dredge areas and identified exclusion zones for known archaeological sites.’
In 2013 a German Dornier Do 17 emerged from the sands for the first time since it was shot down with its three crew on August 26, 1940.
The well-preserved twin-engine aircraft was recovered for restoration and eventual display at the RAF Museum in Hendon, North London.
THE PICTURE POST HERO LOST OVER THE SANDS AGED JUST 19
One of the most famous Battle of Britain pilots lost over Goodwin Sands was 19-year-old Keith Gillman.
His portrait appeared on the cover of Picture Post magazine, left, in 1940. But unknown to readers at the time, his Hurricane of 32 Squadron had been shot down on August 25 – the week before the magazine was published – within sight of his Dover home, plummeting on to the sandbank.
Neither he nor his aircraft were recovered. His great-niece Amanda Lomas, 47, of River, near Dover, said: ‘Our family has always been immensely proud of Keith and kept his memory alive over the years.
‘I’ve been out to the Goodwin Sands by boat at low tide and it’s a magical place. It makes me very uncomfortable to think that war graves there could be disturbed.
‘Those pilots, like my great-uncle, were heroes. They deserve to be treated with respect.’
Creative Review, 10th August 2016
The proposed dredging has become a hot local issue in Kent. As The Guardian reported in January, Dover Harbour Board is considering dredging for sand and gravel from an area around six miles out from Deal, to expand cargo facilities and build a marina at Dover port.
However, groups including the Kent Wildlife Trust, Marine Conservation Society and British Divers Marine Life Rescue have all raised concerns that the work might damage habitats and endanger marine life. The area is also home to a war grave.
Creative Richard Evans, who lives in Deal, had been following the issue via the Goodwin Sands SOS protest group on Facebook. “When they started to get more organised and called for people to help out I volunteered,” he says.
Evans created a campaign of press ads which highlight some of the alleged dangers of the proposed dredging, including disturbing the wreck of a U-Boat and damaging the breeding grounds of grey seals.
The ads all ran in the July 7 issue of the East Kent Mercury, which serves the Goodwin Sands area. “The ads countered a DPS Dover Harbour Board had been running, which I was pretty pleased to see run again in the same issue,” Evans says.
BAFTA Award winning actress with a multitude of film and TV roles, including two Harry Potter films, Blackadder and The Age of Innocence (1993).
Miriam Margolyes, who owns a house in St Margaret’s Bay, has written directly to the DHB to plead for the board to stop this “dangerous enterprise”.
I own a house on the cliff top at St Margaret’s Bay and we already have to face terrifying cliff erosion.
It seems you have no sense of what damage your project will cause to local people and to the environment.
I would like to place on record my profound disgust at this brutal application and urge you to drop the whole idea.
I’ve always believed in the harbour board until now and have defended the docks and the people who try to earn their living here in the depressed South East, but this is a dangerous and appalling project, which will threaten the whole coastline.
You have become destroyers of what makes this area so wonderful.
She said her objections were based on the sea life that could be destroyed or negatively affected, including 350 grey seals that would be disturbed by the noise and vibration and the impact on their food source.
She claims lowering the seabed could cause coastal erosion and leave sea defences less effective.
Ms Margolyes also said that the buried wrecks of the Admiral Gardner and possibly a German U12 submarine and the remains of Battle of Britain planes and pilots could be disturbed and desecrated.
Extract from http://www.kentonline.co.uk/deal/news/goodwin-sands-campaign-gains-momentum-98945/ 14th July 2016.
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- Possible WWII bomber discovered on the Goodwin Sands
- Lewis Pugh completes the Long Swim to highlight marine protection
- Lewis Pugh calls on Michael Gove to intervene in Goodwin Sands decision
- New evidence reveals Goodwin Sands shipwreck’s secrets
- Meeting with Ms Trudi Wakelin of the Marine Management Organisation (MMO)