Will the MMO declare the Goodwin Sands rMCZ a WWII War Grave?

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is conducting a second stage in its public consultation over the Dover Harbour Board’s application to dredge 2.5 million cubic metres of sand from the southern section of the Goodwin Sands for use as infill material in the reconstruction of the western dock at the Port of Dover. This application is number MLA/2016/00227, and may be seen on the MMO’s public register.

The second stage of consultation, which runs until 16th November 2016, arises from the Harbour Board’s supplementary evidence supplied in response to the MMO’s questioning of the original Environmental Statement. Marinet contributed to that original public consultation, see here.

Marinet has made a further submission. The key issue is whether this recommended Marine Conservation Zone (rMCZ) is also a World War II war grave.

During the Battle of Britain over 40 British aircraft crashed in the vicinity of the Goodwin Sands with the loss of life of their crew, as did German aircraft. Throughout the remaining years of WWII many other Allied and German aircraft and their crews also crashed in this area. Under the UK’s Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 any site involving crashed aircraft and their dead crew is a war grave, and it is an offence in law to disturb it.

Marinet along with other campaigners amongst the public, particularly in Deal and Dover, have represented these fact to the MMO and have asked the MMO to declare the entire Goodwin Sands a World War II war grave. Such a determination would make aggregate dredging of the area illegal.

To date, the MMO has not made this ruling. Marinet has now asked the MMO to make up its mind, thus saving the Dover Harbour Board further time and expense by being able to look elsewhere for its construction material.

The rMCZ is also believed to be an important site for sandeels, a primary food of seabirds in the neighbouring SPAsSPA Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are strictly protected sites classified in accordance with Article 4 of the EC Birds Directive, which came into force in April 1979. They are classified for rare and vulnerable birds (as listed on Annex I of the Directive), and for regularly occurring migratory species., and for a large colony of Grey and Harbour seals which inhabit the Goodwin Sands.

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