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Goodwin Sands SOS gets £400 grant from Walmer Parish Council for anti-dredging campaign

By Sam Lennon

Campaigners to stop the Goodwin Sands being dredged have been given a £400 boost.

Walmer Parish Council gave Goodwin Sands SOS (Save Our Sands) a community grant.

The pressure group is continuing to raise money for legal fees as it lodges a claim for a judicial review concerning a licence being granted for dredging the shifting sands.

Sue Le Chevalier presents the cheque to campaigner Joanna Thomson. Picture: Goodwin Sands SOS
Sue Le Chevalier presents the cheque to campaigner Joanna Thomson. Picture: Goodwin Sands SOS

Council chairman, Sue Le Chevalier, said “Walmer Parish Council is aware that this is an important issue for many local people and therefore felt able to support the initiative.”

In July this year the government's Marine Management Organisation granted a licence for the Port of Dover to dredge up to 3 milion tonnes of aggregate from the Sands.

In October Goodwin Sands SOS lodged a claim for a Judicial Review of this decision with the High Court. A response is expected early in the New Year.

Joanna Thomson, Goodwin Sands SOS campaign co-ordinator said “Walmer Parish Council’s donation is doubly welcome, not just to swell our funds but it demonstrates their faith in what we are doing and how seriously they are treating the threat of dredging.”

Other councils have been frank in their views about the dredging. Dover and Deal Town Councils announced they opposed the scheme during the last public consultation in 2017.

Goodwin Sands SOS is concerned that if this new round of dredging goes ahead, it will not be the last.

Goodwin Sands (5834443)
Goodwin Sands (5834443)

A report dated 2011 from The Crown Estate, who owns the seabed out to the 12 nautical mile limit, shows they have identified the South Goodwin sandbank as a potential source of 738 million tonnes of aggregate, equivalent to 33 years of dredging.

A subsequent report dated 2016 states that future dredging plans will be determined by the outcome of the Dover Harbour Board application.

GSSOS is against the dredging for environmental reasons and because of fears of disturbance to war graves.

The Port of Dover had made the application as part of its Dover Western Docks Revival development, which it says would benefit the wider area.

It said it only wanted to dig 0.22% of the Sands

GSSOS is continuing despite an initial plan by campaigners to completely replace it with their newly-formed Goodwin Sands Conservation Trust.

They have decided that GSSOS, set up in 2016, is now so familiar to the public that the cause is further strengthened by keeping it.

It will continue as a campaigning and fundraising arm while GSCT, formed in July, will be primarily for public education and awareness.

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