Posted on December 22, 2020
The Marine Maritime Organisation remains satisfied it made the correct decision and that all the necessary requirements are being met
Campaigners have vowed not to give up protesting against dredged waste from Exmouth Marina to be dumped at sea – despite regulations being fully met.
Teignmouth residents were outraged back in 2018 when its beaches suddenly turned black because the spoil was being dumped off nearby Sprey Point.
Following angry protests, the Marine Maritime Organisation (MMO) suspended the licence that MarineSpace Ltd, on behalf of Exmouth Marina Ltd, had been granted for maintenance dredging and disposal of 10,000 tonnes of materials.
But in September 2020 the MMO lifted the suspension and consented Exmouth Marina Ltd to restart dredging operations, with the waste to be dumped at a disused off shore disposal site approximately 7.7km off Teignmouth, which should ensure the beaches don’t turn black.
The MMO remains satisfied it made the correct decision and that all the necessary requirements are being met.
However, many locals are still determined to try and reverse the decision to put an end to the practice.
Last Saturday, December 12, protestors staged a theatrical demonstration in Teignmouth to show the strength of feeling behind opposition the ongoing dumping of dredged waste in the fishing grounds of Lyme bay.
Campaign spokeswoman Maria Bown said: “We recruited Ocean Rebellion who provided stunning visual input. One activist was sufficiently committed to emerge blue from a dip in the river.
“Councillor Richard Ash made an impassioned speech saying that the marina, which is in fact polluting the pristine water of Lyme Bay, is part of the Greendale Group which promotes itself as a front runner in the fight for sustainability.
“Councillors Andrew Henderson from Teignmouth Town Council and Nina Jeffries from Teignbridge District Council attended. Members of Teignmouth Surf Lifesaving Club were present offshore.
“Opposition to the dumping continues, and Torbay District Council is now involved.
“A 15.4 sq km mussel farm that expects to export 10,000 tons of mussels per annum when in full production, has complained that it will be in the direct path of the fallout from the dumping.”
However, Exmouth Marina has assured it is acting within the guidelines of the licence it has been granted.
Alec Carter, director of Exmouth Marina, said: “Exmouth Marina was granted a licence by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to dredge the marina and remove the silt that has been deposited from the river.
“In order to obtain the licence testing was conducted and was found to be within the Government requirements. Exmouth marina is complying with the conditions as set out in the licence.”
An MMO spokesperson added: “As England’s marine manager, we want to protect and develop our seas, coasts and communities for the benefit of generations to come.
“Driven by government’s aim for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas, MMO’s purpose is to protect and enhance our precious marine environment, and support UK economic growth by enabling sustainable marine activities and development.
“As a regulator that has to balance and manage competing uses of the marine environment, we accept that not everyone will be happy with the decisions we make.
“In this specific case, we remain confident that the correct decision was made, in accordance with our obligations under both domestic and international requirements, standards and guidance.”
Last month, Devon Live reported its executive committee had raised questions around the sampling methodology that had been used, and agreed to ask the MMO to suspend the licence while a review takes place.
The executive agreed to maintain their existing objection to the licence and to lobby for additional clarification of sampling methodology to be carried out, and to recommend that the Marine Management Organisation support properly representative sediment testing methodologies be incorporated within License criteria.
Teignbridge District Council and Torbay Council were approached for a comment.
Concerned residents are urged to contact the MMO at SH.email@example.com and their local MP and/ or write to the Secretary of the State for the Environment.