Hundreds join Whitsand Bay silt dumping protest

Hundreds of campaigners have protested against the dumping of silt dredged from a naval dockyard

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Hundreds of campaigners have protested against the dumping of silt dredged from a naval dockyard.

Silt is dredged from the River Tamar to clear channels for warships at Devonport docks in Plymouth.

Critics say the silt is harming marine life and seawater quality where it is dumped in Whitsand Bay, Cornwall.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) says the dredging is essential to its work at the dockyard and is licensed by the Marine Management Organisation.

'Stop it now'

Millions of tonnes of silt has been dumped off Rame Head in Whitsand Bay over the years.

A new application has been lodged by MoD contractors for a two-year licence to deposit up to 337,000 tonnes of silt at the dump site.

More than 300 people joined a protest at Rame Head and called for the silt to be dumped further out to sea.

Protest organiser Deb Hoskin, from nearby Millbrook, said: "We've had enough. This demonstration is a way for local people to say we want it stopped now.

"We care for the life in our seas and shores, for the beauty of our beaches and the enjoyment of the many visitors."

Environment minister and Cornish MP George Eustice said he did not want silt dumping to affect a nearby Marine Conservation Zone.

"I can understand local people's frustrations and their concerns," he said.

"I will go back to officials and see if there is anything that can be done."

Conservative MP for South East Cornwall, Sheryll Murray, said: "The dredging is vital to maintain the dockyards at Plymouth upon which so many constituents' jobs rely.

"What I want to see is a different site used for the dumping."

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