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Majority vote by Dover town councillors to oppose Goodwin Sands dredging

By Sam Lennon

A town council has cast a majority vote against dredging the Goodwin Sands.

Dover members vote nine against three to formally object to the plans in the current public consultation.

It followed a motion by Cllr Callum Warriner who is anxious to protect war graves in the area.

The Goodwin Sands. Picture: Ian Goodban
The Goodwin Sands. Picture: Ian Goodban

He asked the council to write to the Marine Management Organisation before the end of the public consultation next week.

In a speech to colleagues on Wednesday Cllr Warriner said: ”Disturbance to this area, even if it could be managed and monitored, cannot guarantee that the natural action of sea and tide will not disrupt and disturb those resting souls consigned to sleep forever in our shadow.

“I wish Dover Harbour Board every success in their efforts to bring regeneration and prosperity to the town,

"But I for one cannot sanction the potential destruction of our maritime heritage or the graves of our brave airmen and seamen.

“We have a duty to the people of Dover and Deal, the citizens of Kent and the nation at large to protect this unique and sacred site from unnecessary damage and disturbance.”

The decision also came after councillors had heard presentations from both the port authority and leading dredging opponents Goodwin Sands SOS (Save Our Sands).

Cllr Warriner is a 20-year-old politics student at Canterbury University who was voted into the Castle ward in a by-election last October.

Cllr Warriner. Put a motion to oppose dredging. Picture from Callum Warriner
Cllr Warriner. Put a motion to oppose dredging. Picture from Callum Warriner

Dover Harbour Board is applying to the government’s MMO for a licence to dredge a section of the Sands off Deal for its Dover Western Docks Revival development.

Fiona Punter, co-ordinator for dredging opponents Goodwin Sands SOS (Save Our Sands) said after the meeting: "We are absolutely delighted by this outcome, it is far more than we expected.

“We are extremely grateful to Callum and to all the councillors who voted to support him.”

GSSOS Campaign co-ordinator Joanna Thomson added: “This decision sends a very strong and clear message to the MMO that whilst the people of Dover want to see the regeneration go ahead they are not prepared to sacrifice our marine environment and heritage to achieve it.”

A Port of Dover spokesman later: “We are deeply disappointed and bemused by this decision from Dover Town Council.

“Throughout the licence submission we have been fully compliant with due process and have responded to all the Marine Management Organisation’s requests.

“The decision should be based solely on the evidence and facts put before it.”

The harbour board argues that it is only dredging 0.22% of the sands and it is needed to help provide jobs and regeneration for Dover.

The third public consultation on this ends at midnight tomorrow .

You can have your say by going online via the MMO public register at gov.uk/check-marine-licence-register.

Or you can email marine.consents@marinemanagement.org.uk.

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