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Fury over new licence to drop waste off Rame Head

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: March 17, 2014

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CAMPAIGNERS are outraged after a company was given permission to carry on dumping dredged waste off Rame Head for three more years.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) issued a new licence on Friday for dredged waste from the River Tamar to be dumped at sea off Rame Head, at Whitsand Bay.

The Stop Dumping At Whitsand Bay (SDAWB) campaign group has been protesting against the area being used as a dump site for several years and more than 300 people made their feelings known at a rally in January.

The new licence was lodged by Boskalis Westminster Ltd, on behalf of Her Majesty's Naval Base in Devonport, to dump up to 337,000 tonnes of waste at the site, which is valid until March 2017.

Dave Peake, SDAWB campaign manager for 15 years, said: "I think it's an absolute disgrace; Sheryll Murray, MP for South East Cornwall, and George Eustice, Minister of DEFRA, should be answering questions about this. I hope there are further protests – people are very angry. These are Cornish waters and dredged waste is being dumped in Cornwall.

"The campaign group is angry – we don't feel like questions have been answered regarding the legality of the site.

"Cornwall Council has got some responsibility for this now it's close to a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)."

A petition has been signed by more than 1,400 residents to stop dumping at the site.

Mr Peake said that SDAWB plans to have a meeting this week and might ask for the licence to be suspended.

The present dump site at Rame Head is within one kilometre of the Whitsand and Looe MCZ area and within the Tamar Estuary MCZ. The zones were set up to help protect the marine environment.

Millbrook resident Jonny Steenhagen, who is part of the campaign to prevent dumping at the site, said: "I have been in talks with the MMO for the last three years. They don't want to take responsibility for that location.

"There is an alternative site that isn't far away that's being completely ignored."

The MMO said in a letter: "The MMO is satisfied that the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed maintenance dredging and disposal activities have been suitably addressed and as such the MMO has made a positive determination of the marine licence application.

"The MMO is satisfied that disposal activities at the Rame Head disposal site, as conditioned in the marine licence, are not capable of significantly affecting the protected features of the Whitsand and Looe Bay MCZ, or any ecological or geomorphological process on which the conservation of any protected feature of the MCZ is dependent."

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