Thursday, 24 March 2011

BORG Update

UPDATE Provided by Boat Owners Support Group ( BORG )

Finding Sanctuary has now produced its 3rd Report, which recommends an MCZ in a large area of Poole Bay, including Studland. They have not recommended any restrictions on anchoring in Studland, noting that it remains a major issue. During the summer, Finding Sanctuary will be looking at ‘Management Protocols’ for all the proposed MCZs, to decide what restrictions are needed to achieve conservation objectives. The third report notes that anchoring in Studland remains a ‘major issue’ and have not recommended any restrictions on the Bay.

RYA has affirmed again their support for opposing any anchoring ban, and are working with BORG who is in contact with senior officials at both NE and MMO to find a practical solution in the event that a conservation order on the Bay includes a ban on anchoring. However, BORG and RYA continue to agree with SBPA that there is insufficient evidence to justify the huge impact that an outright ban on anchoring would have not only locally but regionally, with a reduced numbers of visitors and all the economic implications of that for both Studland and the wider Poole area.

2011 is decision time for the Bay Finding Sanctuary has to submit its recommendations by August 31st this year. This will be followed by a review period with Natural England , the JNCC, and various advisory bodies prior to the publication of a Government White Paper probably in December 2011. This will be followed by a statutory 3 month ‘Public Consultation Period’ after which all the recommendations go forward for approval and implementation. After that MCZs become law.

Finding Sanctuary have made it clear will not be recommending ANY restriction on small boat activities within an MCZ, unless that activity is specifically damaging to conservation objectives. Clearly the issue in Studland is whether anchoring is causing damage to the habitat.

However, Government cutbacks are sweeping through the whole business. Natural England (who have a staff wages bill of over £86m last year) are being substantially cut back, while the MMO admit they are undergoing a ‘streamlining’ of their operation. It is now likely there will little or no money to enforce restrictions within MCZs. So what is better? A law that can not be enforced, or no law in the first place?