Concerns rare bird protection plan could be 'nail in the coffin' for Falmouth dredging

Concerns rare bird protection plan could be 'nail in the coffin' for Falmouth dredging

Concerns rare bird protection plan could be 'nail in the coffin' for Falmouth dredging

First published in Cornwall

Concerns have been raised that plans to protect three rare birds which spend the winter in Falmouth, could prove a “nail in the coffin” for the port's future development.

Assurances have been made by Natural England, though, that the proposed Special Protection Area (pSPA) in Falmouth Bay, should not impact on plans to dredge a deep water channel into the docks.

The pSPA is currently being consulted upon with people having until April 14 to have their say on the plans. The area, which would stretch from Falmouth Bay to St Austell Bay, provides a winter home for the rare and endangered great northern diver, black-throated diver and Slavonian grebe.

Falmouth Town Council was given a presentation by two representatives from Natural England on Monday night, who said they have been working closely with Falmouth Harbour Commissioners over the proposals.

As a result, a working agreement has been signed between the two organisations to “facilitate further research and ensure that any management measures proposed are supported by robust science.”

Harriet Knowles, FHC's environment manager, said: “We are encouraged that Natural England has concluded that current port activities pose low risk to the bird species.”

Councillors and A&P Falmouth's port operations director, Mike Reynolds, are not quite so confident.

Mr Reynolds said: “Previous environmental designations have unfortunately severely impacted on commercial activities in the Port of Falmouth; the ongoing costs and delays in achieving the dredging for Falmouth and Cornwall is a very clear example of this.

“We hope this is not another example which will threaten jobs and the future of the port, we have made this point clear to Natural England in the process to date and will be re-emphasising this during the consultation.”

Falmouth councillors, while supporting the pSPA, want to ensure it has no impact on the town and port's economic growth and are questioning the need for such blanket cover.

Councillor Alan Jewell said: “There are other places these birds can go, but we have one of the deepest harbours which is a big economic driver for Cornwall. This will be another nail in our coffin if we are not careful.”

Councillor Candy Atherton said: “There are real concerns around the town that this is going to affect some of the activities that are absolutely critical to the biodiversity of Falmouth.”

When asked to confirm the pSPA would not affect plans to dredge the channel, Natural England's Richard Cook said: “The vulnerability assessment has indicated a low risk of impact on the bird species, but monitoring is required to ensure that is the case.”

Anyone wishing to comment on the pSPA can do so by visiting www.naturalengland.org.uk.

Comments (6)

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7:05am Fri 7 Mar 14

Gillian R.Z. Martin says...

If the birds migrate here and find their destination place is no longer available they will relocate. It would be completely irresponsible to prevent dredging, put jobs at risk and hold the prosperity of Falmouth at a disadvantage on the strength of a few migrating birds. I would think we are becoming a laughing stock to other countries.

Having seen six sea birds dead in Porthleven harbour last week due to the previous storm weather, how do we know that the return of the migrating birds to Falmouth might not also be affected by future weather conditions.
If the birds migrate here and find their destination place is no longer available they will relocate. It would be completely irresponsible to prevent dredging, put jobs at risk and hold the prosperity of Falmouth at a disadvantage on the strength of a few migrating birds. I would think we are becoming a laughing stock to other countries. Having seen six sea birds dead in Porthleven harbour last week due to the previous storm weather, how do we know that the return of the migrating birds to Falmouth might not also be affected by future weather conditions. Gillian R.Z. Martin
  • Score: 13

7:17am Fri 7 Mar 14

titanium says...

Everyone in Falmouth and surrounding areas whose future prospects, aspirations, call it what you want. They must write to their MP's , Councillors, local papers. and get a huge ground-swell of support for dredging of the harbour.

This is make or break time for Falmouth. Get writing ASAP and keep writing. Keep the pressure up. Falmouth Docks are vital for the future of the Falmouth people.

We don't want the docks replaced by a huge marina do we ?.
Everyone in Falmouth and surrounding areas whose future prospects, aspirations, call it what you want. They must write to their MP's , Councillors, local papers. and get a huge ground-swell of support for dredging of the harbour. This is make or break time for Falmouth. Get writing ASAP and keep writing. Keep the pressure up. Falmouth Docks are vital for the future of the Falmouth people. We don't want the docks replaced by a huge marina do we ?. titanium
  • Score: 12

7:24am Fri 7 Mar 14

juwhite says...

A very good point Gill (hope you don't mind me shortening your name). I was one of the families who suffered when the docks downgraded years ago. All my extended family of uncles networked there and my father. It was an awful time and affected the whole community and I wouldn't want to see the final nail in the coffin. We already have one cruise line stopping coming here. This dredging is desperately needed and not just for Falmouth but the whole of Cornwall as the passengers are often bussed to other towns/attractions. I agree we are becoming a laughing stock.
A very good point Gill (hope you don't mind me shortening your name). I was one of the families who suffered when the docks downgraded years ago. All my extended family of uncles networked there and my father. It was an awful time and affected the whole community and I wouldn't want to see the final nail in the coffin. We already have one cruise line stopping coming here. This dredging is desperately needed and not just for Falmouth but the whole of Cornwall as the passengers are often bussed to other towns/attractions. I agree we are becoming a laughing stock. juwhite
  • Score: 12

7:57am Fri 7 Mar 14

Gillian R.Z. Martin says...

juwhite wrote:
A very good point Gill (hope you don't mind me shortening your name). I was one of the families who suffered when the docks downgraded years ago. All my extended family of uncles networked there and my father. It was an awful time and affected the whole community and I wouldn't want to see the final nail in the coffin. We already have one cruise line stopping coming here. This dredging is desperately needed and not just for Falmouth but the whole of Cornwall as the passengers are often bussed to other towns/attractions. I agree we are becoming a laughing stock.
I do not mind you shortening my name at all. I know it affected the whole community, the docks is an integral part of Falmouth and does not need to just survive, it needs to prosper greatly along with the town. It is devastating that one cruise line company has already pulled out, hopefully this will be a wake up call to those preventing/delaying dredging.
[quote][p][bold]juwhite[/bold] wrote: A very good point Gill (hope you don't mind me shortening your name). I was one of the families who suffered when the docks downgraded years ago. All my extended family of uncles networked there and my father. It was an awful time and affected the whole community and I wouldn't want to see the final nail in the coffin. We already have one cruise line stopping coming here. This dredging is desperately needed and not just for Falmouth but the whole of Cornwall as the passengers are often bussed to other towns/attractions. I agree we are becoming a laughing stock.[/p][/quote]I do not mind you shortening my name at all. I know it affected the whole community, the docks is an integral part of Falmouth and does not need to just survive, it needs to prosper greatly along with the town. It is devastating that one cruise line company has already pulled out, hopefully this will be a wake up call to those preventing/delaying dredging. Gillian R.Z. Martin
  • Score: 11

8:57pm Fri 7 Mar 14

seacom says...

As i remember the docks laid off some workers and some took redundancy later to be reemployed .A lot of the positions now are on a casual basis with no guarantee of hours being driven by market forces with overseas shipyards able to undercut prices with lower wages competition is high.Dredging may well allow larger cruise liners to enter port but a working shjp repair yard with 24 hour working right alongside may not be desirable to passengers.The area of the dockyard has been steadily reduced in size and without enlarged dry docking facilities larger vessels cannot be taken. As a marina has been mentioned previously this may well come to pass when you consider the accomodation block built within the yard, who could have predicted that (only a few).
As i remember the docks laid off some workers and some took redundancy later to be reemployed .A lot of the positions now are on a casual basis with no guarantee of hours being driven by market forces with overseas shipyards able to undercut prices with lower wages competition is high.Dredging may well allow larger cruise liners to enter port but a working shjp repair yard with 24 hour working right alongside may not be desirable to passengers.The area of the dockyard has been steadily reduced in size and without enlarged dry docking facilities larger vessels cannot be taken. As a marina has been mentioned previously this may well come to pass when you consider the accomodation block built within the yard, who could have predicted that (only a few). seacom
  • Score: -6

4:11pm Sun 9 Mar 14

WANDERERS says...

It gets worse , Falmouth is dead ,hope the do goods are happy
It gets worse , Falmouth is dead ,hope the do goods are happy WANDERERS
  • Score: 4

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