LETTER: Dredging worry

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Thank you for the excellent feature in last week’s Herald concerning the Kingmere Marine Conservation Zone.

Unfortunately, this has raised a very serious concern. A number of aggregate companies are interested in dredging in this nationally unique breeding area for black bream; how can dredging even be considered in a Marine Conservation Zone? What do these people think the word ‘conservation’ means?

The idea of MCZs, according to UK Government department DEFRA’s marine management organisation, is ‘to protect marine ecosystems...giving protection to species and habitats of national importance’.

The ‘Advice on Operations’ for the Kingmere zone specifically identifies aggregate dredging as a sensitive issue because of ‘abrasion/disturbance of the substrate on the surface of the seabed’ among a number of other destructive factors. Aggregate dredging instantly destroys seabed surface eco-habitats that may have taken 50 or 100 years to establish themselves.

Surely, the regulatory body, Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) cannot be considering permitting such wanton destruction, in the most highly-protected category of marine environment?

Gerry Thompson

Connaught Avenue

Shoreham

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