Protect the porpoise

Further to your excellent article “AONB slams wind farm proposals” (Gazette, July 18) I am delighted that Ro Day, the chairman of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty partnership, has come out so positively against this massive industrial development.

I am concerned that the UNESCO North Devon Biosphere appears to be “twiddling its thumbs” over this. I have read their position statement.

I am certainly under the impression that the chairman of Coastwise, Paula Ferris, supports this scheme. But I appreciate that Coastwise does not speak for the Biosphere.

Could we have someone who does to clarify things please?

Britain is good at lecturing other countries on how to save their wildlife – from tigers to rhinos, albatrosses to sharks.

Governments and green groups are never shy of doling out advice. However, our own record at saving UK species should shame us all.

One example (which I have made a study of) is the harbour porpoise. We normally only see these small, shy creatures when they are dead – washed ashore with horrific wounds, often the victims of gill nets where they suffer a long, frantic death from drowning.

Most Read

Under the EU habitats directive the UK is obliged to create Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for harbour porpoises and bottlenose dolphins. Britain has set up two SACs for bottlenose dolphins. However, 16 years after the directive took effect, harbour porpoises are still waiting!

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society wants harbour porpoise SACs with controls on noise, chemical pollution and fishing to be set up in various places including north and south of Cardigan Bay in Wales – which would presumably affect the Atlantic Array?

We signed up to the treaty and European habitat regulations, yet the UK authorities do not enforce them. One possibility is that improving their protection is seen as potentially clashing with government ambitions for offshore industrial development.

Fact: harbour porpoises breed in Scarweather Sands, Swansea Bay, which is the outer Bristol Channel!

I hope to have a meeting with Nick Harvey and shall be handing over reports/studies on this protected species for his interest and information.

Joanne Bell

Press officer

Save Our Marine Mammals

West Yelland


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter