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Studland Bay - what you need to do

Tranona

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I understand well the need for a safe haven in Studland and have used it many years ago transiting from I.O.W. and might soon need appreciate it getting my 5th boat from purchaser in Chichester back down West. However I also value eelgrass. Would not a few Environmentally Friendly Moorings be a good idea? After all most of us don't love raising and lowering anchors and it would limit scouring of the bottom, as less boats would need to anchor. Is a compromise not possible to deflect complete exclusion?
There is little evidence that anchoring does actually do any real damage as you will see from the BORG reports - unlike the chains of the existing moorings. There are doubts as to whether the EFMs will actually work in this location and they will require significant funding to install and maintain.
 

oldharry

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EFMs come out at about twice the price of a conventional chain and sinker mooring, because of the special gear needed to set them if the helical screw type anchor point is used. They need frequent regular maintenance to ensure they remain in working condition, but the biggest problem is that the elasticated or sprung component designed to keep the tackle off the bottom has to be matched fairly closely to the boat using them. A small boat using one designed for a large vessel will not be heavy enough to tension the spring properly, reslting in damage and clearly a heavier boat will simply rip the whole thing out of the ground. Also they are deisgned to work in deep water, not in the shallow waters found in Studland. EFMs ina public anchorage would have to be closely and carefully supervised according to the size and weight of each individual visiting boat. On a busy day with people coming and going this would have to bea team effiort by perhaps half a dozen or more Mooring Officers. So who pays? Us wealthy yotties of course... But think of the overheads: monthly inspection by a qualified diving team, supervision by sveeral jobsworths directing us to the boys we can use, then relieveing us of - how much? £30 - £40 to cover costs. Crown Estates did a businsess plan, and found even if 350 moorings were laid, it would never pay, even at prices equivalent to marina berths.

Its a nice idea, but it just can not be made to pay its way. Anyway, who wants to see the bay littered with mooring buoys? NGM wants 50. NE want a more modest 30, at current capital cost around £60k to install, plus maintenance and running costs.

Maintenance is key. West Coast Americans discovered a 70% + fail rate within two years without regular ongoing maintenance. Fine for permanent moorings. A disaster waiting to happen for unsupervised visitor moorings!

Some bright person came up with the iudea of havinga string of buoys attached to a rope riser. This was trialled in Torbay. Apart from the risk of fouled props from the underwater lines, the experiment failed after some scrote nicked all the boys for his fishing gear! Do they really want to risk putting more plastic in the sea?
 

Blue Sunray

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EFMs come out at about twice the price of a conventional chain and sinker mooring, because of the special gear needed to set them if the helical screw type anchor point is used. They need frequent regular maintenance to ensure they remain in working condition, but the biggest problem is that the elasticated or sprung component designed to keep the tackle off the bottom has to be matched fairly closely to the boat using them. A small boat using one designed for a large vessel will not be heavy enough to tension the spring properly, reslting in damage and clearly a heavier boat will simply rip the whole thing out of the ground. Also they are deisgned to work in deep water, not in the shallow waters found in Studland. EFMs ina public anchorage would have to be closely and carefully supervised according to the size and weight of each individual visiting boat. On a busy day with people coming and going this would have to bea team effiort by perhaps half a dozen or more Mooring Officers. So who pays? Us wealthy yotties of course... But think of the overheads: monthly inspection by a qualified diving team, supervision by sveeral jobsworths directing us to the boys we can use, then relieveing us of - how much? £30 - £40 to cover costs. Crown Estates did a businsess plan, and found even if 350 moorings were laid, it would never pay, even at prices equivalent to marina berths.

Its a nice idea, but it just can not be made to pay its way. Anyway, who wants to see the bay littered with mooring buoys? NGM wants 50. NE want a more modest 30, at current capital cost around £60k to install, plus maintenance and running costs.

Maintenance is key. West Coast Americans discovered a 70% + fail rate within two years without regular ongoing maintenance. Fine for permanent moorings. A disaster waiting to happen for unsupervised visitor moorings!

Some bright person came up with the iudea of havinga string of buoys attached to a rope riser. This was trialled in Torbay. Apart from the risk of fouled props from the underwater lines, the experiment failed after some scrote nicked all the boys for his fishing gear! Do they really want to risk putting more plastic in the sea?
Are you able to say how the meeting went (or is it best to wait until after next week's)?
 

oldharry

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I would say it was encouraging. The Minister himself clearly knew little of the issues, so we were able to brief him fully. Much will turn on next weeks meeting when he hears the other side, but Marlynspyke was able to give him a well documented summary of the arguments against the anchor damage theory, backed by a range of scientific papers confirming our views. Unfortunately a Division in the House cut the meeting short, but nevertheless it was useful, and BORGs arguments are firmly in the arena now.

Only time will tell which way he decides to jump on this. NGM's panic over Richard Drax is about 8 years too late. He had made up his mind long before reading BORG material which ahs simply reiforced and strengthened his views. Incidentally, the 'petition' NGM refers to was organised by Locals, nothing to do with BORG.

Reading this latest I do wonder with all this 'protection' what NGM thinks an MCZ will achieve that is not already amply covered?
 
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oldharry

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Re reqadingNGMsdiatribe, many other points occur to me, but two things noteworthy:

1. "SHT has never sought to ban boats." Untrue. If boats are not allowed to anchor here we are effectively banned. DEFRA in any case still includes an anchor ban as option 3. What are visitors supposed to do? Sail or drive up and down the Bay all day?

2. NGM claims 'anchoring is illegal' in the bay under the Wildlife Act. MMO (enforcers) do not agree. They have stated publicly and unequivocally that anchoring is not illegal. NGM knows this as well as we do, from MMO's response to his complaints. We all (including NGM) know that the Act provides protection from 'wilful or deliberate disturnbance of habitat. Gus Lewis, late of RYA advised that 'anchoring is a normal and legal activity, therefore does not come under the scope of the WA'. It only becomes illegal if somebody can be proved to be dropping their anchor with the intention of disturbing the wildlife rather than securing their boat.

So stop using your fishfinders to hunt down and bomb out the seahorses! As a matter of interest even a cheap fishfinder can differentiate between sand and eelgrass, and can actually help to find one of the increasingly rare patches of bare sand to anchor safely! I have been using one for a number of years, succesfully.
 

st599

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Can't find the consultation document listing Osborne Bay. Has anyone got a link?
 

Blue Sunray

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Can't find the consultation document listing Osborne Bay. Has anyone got a link?
From post 24

It is good news that the Osborne to Ryde MCZ is not being designated, although I’ve found no commentary about that. When, like Studland Bay, it was not put forward in the second tranche, Defra gave this explanation:

This site would affect a range of sectors if designated. The greatest costs would be to recreational boating (anchoring) with approximately 36 yachting, sailing clubs and
recreational organisations using the site. This sector has raised concerns regarding safety issues over potential anchorage restrictions in the sheltered bay which is one of few places around the island offering protection from the strong tidal currents. This site also includes the passenger ferry terminal which overlaps with the sheltered
muddy gravel and is immediately adjacent to the seagrass beds……. ……… We consider that further work is needed to explore the scope for developing local solutions
on this site before it can be proposed for designation.


Perhaps good sense has prevailed.

Good sense has also been applied to the Yarmouth to Cowes site: the boundaries were changed to exclude Yarmouth Harbour and the coast to the west of it, where there are eelgrass beds. This means that there should be no anchoring restrictions in the whole of the Solent proper, which is a good outcome for common sense.

So it seems that socio-economic costs are being considered, and it might be that there is all to play for in the Public Consultation over Studland Bay, and perhaps the eelgrass beds in Priory Bay. All contributions to the Public Consultation must be in by 20th July!
 

oldharry

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We just heard from DEFRA confirming that they will accept responses to the Consultation in any form. You do not have to use their questionnaire. If you have already responded using the form but felt restricted by the questions, then you can submit a further email, or letter.
 

jimi

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I have ensured at each stage of the process that the safety factor has been included in the arguments and assessments so the points Seajet makes were in the papers we submitted at each phase of the process. Nortada makes a valid point, and whenever this particular issue has been raised it has been shouted down by the career conservationists, who invariably claim that anchoring 'in an emergency' would of course take precedence. I then ask them to define 'emergency': Lifeboats, helos. coastguard etc. "S'obvious innit?' The real question whether a boat will be justified anchoring in an MCZ NAZ in order to prevent an emergency cannot be answered, nor can it be legally quantified, because the emergency hasn't happened - yet. So if if a boat has a problem or crew are getting overtired, will we be justified in anchoring anyway before we make silly mistakes due to fatigue, leading to a lifeboat or helo call out? The mere risk of being prosecuted is likely to make us push on into potential danger and even loss of life. In 8 years nobody has even tried to answer that one, yet it is a fundamental safety issue.
I’ve anchored several times in studland when singlehanded on passage, the last time was at 2am after 20 hours on the go. It was by far the most preferable option
 

nortada

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I’ve anchored several times in studland when singlehanded on passage, the last time was at 2am after 20 hours on the go. It was by far the most preferable option
Where were you coming from going to?

Now that inputs to the consultation phase has now closed, any idea when the findings will be announced?
 
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oldharry

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Where were you coming from going to?

Now that inputs to the consultation phase has now closed, any idea when the findings will be announced?
Within the next 12 months" is the official reply.

Hopefully DEFRA will realise that SBPA, BORG and RYA are not going to let them get away with the sloppy schoolboy level science behind the recommendation, and I have left them in no doubt that we will challenege it every step of the way. How can we discuss how to protect something that doesnt need protection? What will be the Conservation Objective for an area that is currently in pretty good shape. Why restrict boats using the Bay when it will not achieve anything worthwhile?
 

nortada

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Within the next 12 months" is the official reply.

Hopefully DEFRA will realise that SBPA, BORG and RYA are not going to let them get away with the sloppy schoolboy level science behind the recommendation, and I have left them in no doubt that we will challenege it every step of the way. How can we discuss how to protect something that doesnt need protection? What will be the Conservation Objective for an area that is currently in pretty good shape. Why restrict boats using the Bay when it will not achieve anything worthwhile?
Once DEFRA have made their decision how do you plan to challenge it? Surely it will follow the normal path into law?
 

oldharry

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After designation Stakeholders (of which I am one) have to agree on Management Options. There's no public input at this stage afaik. If it comes to it I eill have the Dtudland residents stakeholder who I know Well on side, and RYA who have come out on our side thanks to Marlynspykes work but who have a new man in post who I have yet to meet.
 

Tranona

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I expect there is always the possibility of a judicial review, although that is extreme and costly.
 

Tranona

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Who would pay?

Problem with this being a stickie, new posts are invisible in the main forum directory.
That is indeed the issue. Clearly somebody or organisation that is affected and believes that the decision is wrong in law - not just that they disagree. The law is already in place giving DEFRA the powers. The issue would be whether the law has been followed correctly either process or giving due regard to the evidence presented.

It is not possible to determine if there is a case until the decision is made and the basis explained.
 

nortada

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That is indeed the issue. Clearly somebody or organisation that is affected and believes that the decision is wrong in law - not just that they disagree. The law is already in place giving DEFRA the powers. The issue would be whether the law has been followed correctly either process or giving due regard to the evidence presented.

It is not possible to determine if there is a case until the decision is made and the basis explained.
So cutting to the chase, DEFRA's ruling will probably hold.
 

Tranona

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So cutting to the chase, DEFRA's ruling will probably hold.
Yes, I expect so. That is the point of having these long winded consultations. Primarily political to ensure they cannot be accused of not consulting properly. Breaking it down into individual small areas is another part of the strategy as it minimises the size of the "objectors". The fact that small almost individual groups can be stakeholders shows this strategy works. Each proposed Zone is individual so failure to designate one does not have a big influence on what happens in others.

You can see this as either selecting appropriate solutions or a way of restrictions creeping up on us!
 

MarlynSpyke

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Actually I go along with Defra on this one. There are in total 91 MCZ’s in the frame, 50 already designated and 41 in Tranche 3. If they average 6 “features of conservation interest” (FOCI) each, that’s 546 items to be considered, and they do require the presence of the feature to be validated and a statement of its condition in that location. There is actually a total of 73 different FOCI being considered among the sites. You can surely only have a meaningful public consultation if you break it down into manageable chunks. There is no way I would have been able to address the whole lot, and besides, although no doubt there are some great enthusiasts for Maerl beds and coldwater sponges out there (or, everybody’s favourite, the Trembling Sea Mat), I frankly don’t care and they are not in the frame as far as recreational boating is concerned.

Recreational boating would only be impacted in inshore sites, and the only boating activity remaining in the spotlight is anchoring in seagrass. (They hinted that anchoring could be an issue in the context of such treasures as subtidal mud, and subtidal mixed gravels, but seem to have backed away from this, the possibility of boats being under suspicion for transporting invasive alien species was raised, but BORG pointed out that our vigorous tidal flows do a pretty good job in that respect, and they can’t stop the tides).

So we are left with a handful of sites which might impact recreational boating. They dealt with the easy ones first, saving the ones with greatest socioeconomic impact to last. The one in Solent Central, Norris to Ryde, seems to have been dropped because of commercial (ferries) and recreational boating impacts, and the Yarmouth IOW one has had the seagrass bit trimmed off, so the process is being adapted as it goes along.

Studland Bay is a tough one, with strong conflicting boating and conservation interest groups pressing their cases. It could also be a sort of test case for seagrass (i.e. eelgrass) beds in general. It has also come to the attention of Government ministers, thanks to the site-by-site approach.

I must say that I have found Defra, Natural England and Marine Management Organisation people professional and helpful, and prepared to respond to a properly argued case, and I thank them for that. One publication was withdrawn when we pointed out serious bias and errors, and the infamous MB0102 Matrix assessments have been replaced by a better and more transparent system, although I still have issues with its application to Studland Bay. (See http://boatownersresponse.org.uk/Tr3-Consultation-Response.pdf )

So I believe the process is being worked through quite well, although at the end of the day I suspect a much more positive impact would be achieved by reducing overfishing and controlling those fishing practices which have damaging side effects, because in reality I believe the impact of recreational boating on our waters to be negligible.
 
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oldharry

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To save any newcmers looking it up, the DEFRA Public Consultation is now closed. Thanks everyone who responded. We continue to work at and monitor what is going on, and if anything further of interest occurs we will of course let you know.

DEFRA say that they will make a decision "within the next 12 months", so the waiting game continues!

I see this page is getting around 85 hits a day still, which is good as it spreads awareness of the issues.
 
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