News Wales, August 3, 2007


[Rachel's introduction: In Wales, the National Trust, an independent charity, is part of a coalition opposing a plan to dredge the Gower coast. The coalition is urging the Assembly to apply the precautionary principle because coastal processes including sedimentation, erosion and deposition are complex and not fully understood.]

A Welsh Assembly decision to continue dredging off the Gower coast has angered the National Trust.

The Trust said today that altering the dynamics of the coast by activities such as dredging is ill-advised as we cannot accurately predict what the impacts on Gower will be.

It is estimated that over two million people visit Gower annually to enjoy its beauty and tranquillity. This represents an estimated income of 255 million pounds a year (in 2006) making Gower's environment significant to the economy of Wales and underlines the urgent need to protect it.

"This uncertainty is only exacerbated by the impacts of climate change which will alter the pace and extent of coastal change," the Trust said in a statement.

"The coastline of Gower is a highly dynamic environment. The impacts of climate change are already evident on the coast as grapgically illustrated in The National Trust Study of the Wales coastline, Shifting Shores. This is likely to become a greater factor in future.

"This case illustrates the urgent need for a system of marine spatial planning to guide the use of off-shore resources and ensure that use of the seas is sustainable.

"Additionally The National Trust believes that further dredging could have a detrimental impact on the local economy which is heavily reliant on the quality of the environment. "

In the summer of 2006, The National Trust gave evidence as part of a coalition to a Public Inquiry into the Helwick Bank application to express its concerns as to the potential impact on the coastline of Gower.

The coalition urged the Assembly to apply the precautionary principle given that coastal processes including sedimentation, erosion and deposition are complex and not fully understood.

The Trust will carefully analyse the decision letter and Inspectors Report and, with others, will be holding the developers to account on all the conditions should the Crown Estate permit further dredging.

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