In the opinion of SOS Hayle, St Ives Bay the current state of the beach and dune is a consequence of accelerated erosion initiated by manmade interference i.e., the commercial dredging of sand undertaken by the UK Property division of the Dutch Bank, ING.
Sand from Hayle Harbour and Estuary has been dredged since 1973 on and off. In 2004 the damage to the beach was evident. ING who had recently acquired their property interest responded appropriately by suspending dredging. The Beach slowly recovered health, but in May 2008 ING resumed dredging under Licence. The records show that in a period from May 2008 to April 2010 ING’s contractor removed a minimum of 53,000 tonnes. As the licence ended, over 16,000 tonnes were removed in a three month period in one zone near to Hayle Beach. This was the highest recorded removal of sand in any quarter in the history of dredging in Hayle. The consequences of this last gorge upon Hayle Beach were dire.
Dredging was suspended in April 2010, but there still remains a high risk that ING will at some stage seek a new licence to dredge sand. It remains possible that this sand will be removed permanently putting the beach and dunes at further risk. The amounts suggested are frightening. The Maintenance Dredging Protocol Document, prepared by ING consultants set out the potential removal of 400,000 tonnes, “to achieve the target depths and channel widths”. This figure does not include capital dredging in the inner harbour. We are talking about the potential removal of 400,000 tonnes of a finite resource from a finite budget of sand in a closed sand cell.