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SOS: Save our Sands

Posted on Apr 11, 2016

Laura Evers Johns and Esme Chilton are urging residents of Deal and other interested parties to come to a meeting at the Bohemian in Beach Street to form an action group preventing Dover Harbour Board from dredging the Goodwin Sands.

Date and Time: Thursday 28th April, 7pm
Venue: The Bohemian, 47 Beach Street, Deal, Kent, CT14 6HY

Dover Harbour Board is considering dredging for sand and gravel from the sands, which lie around six miles out from Deal, to expand cargo facilities and build a marina at Dover port.

Groups including the Kent Wildlife Trust, Marine Conservation Society and British Divers Marine Life Rescue have all expressed their concern at the extraction, which could start as soon as August.

Seal on the Goodwin Sands

Although the area has been dredged before for Dover port and Ramsgate up the coast, the amount of sand and gravel would be more than a third of the total amount extracted previously, between 1976 and 1998.

An important site for grey and common seals to mate and rest, the sands provide foraging grounds for birds and the seabed is home to blue mussels and ross worm reefs.

In addition its position as a graveyard for the estimated thousands of ships that have been wrecked over the centuries, make it a treasure-house of antiquity and history. For this alone it should not be disturbed any more than the natural currents, weather and natural movements of the sands allow.

For instance, the third rate man-of-war Stirling Castle, a warship from Queen Anne’s navy, met her fate close to the Goodwins in the great storm of 1703. When the ship emerged from a sand wave she was found to be almost complete. Inside her hull was an entire time capsule of life from the early eighteenth century. The following year two more ships, which were commissioned by Samuel Pepys, were also uncovered.

Deal Web has more on the importance of the sands to our national heritage.

Read more from the Guardian on how the plan to extract sand and gravel will endanger marine life on the Sands…